House of Cards or Veep?

It’s summer. Despite efforts by the news media to keep us engaged, nothing much is happening in politics. All the better, really. So let’s have some fun.

Which show, House of Cards or Veep, better captures the reality of American politics?

A comedy of the absurd filled with half-wits and sociopaths who fumble their way through a broken, unmanageable system. Or a dark thriller in which sinister geniuses scheme their way toward the heights of power.

Or should we just cruise past both shows and study Idiocracy?


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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334 comments on “House of Cards or Veep?
  1. objv says:

    Another positive story …

    “The Southern Baptist Convention voted overwhelmingly to repudiate the display of the Confederate Battle Flag.”

  2. Rob Ambrose says:

    Interesting. I find it difficult to believe both these Fox abchirs went off script on their own. Either Fox is changing their tune, or perhaps they’re just allowing abchirs to finally speak about this if they so chose?

    But seriously…. Bill O Reilly?

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Wait what was that? I think I just saw a pig at the hummingbird feeder! Flew away too quick for a good look.

      Seriously, I can’t imagine the various splinters coming from the conservative base. Will certain Fox News anchors walk back their comments tomorrow? I’m almost tempted to watch. In fact, if they are listening, I’ll tune in 7 days a week if Murdoch/Ailes will allow this kind of talk going forward.

      Stock up on the popcorn.

    • 1mimr says:

      It’s “telling” when media leads party. IOW, why can’t the GOP reason this out and act out of conviction rather than always have to run every decision up the party flagpole?

  3. This is truly pathetic. Trumpy and the GOP have to get permission from the NRA to ban gun purchases by people on the terror watch list! maybe they should ask their mommies too!

    if i ever again vote for a Republican, would someone smash my in the head with a 2×4!!

    • 1mime says:

      Absolutely constitutional rights must not be abridged; however, it’s clear that this problem was addressed in Repub sen john cornyn’s bill last year and still the GOP refused to act. So, that excuse is crap. Until the GOP starts governing FOR country NOT party, expect more excuses and more pandering to the NRA and the other powerful lobbyists who are obviously more important than the citizens of America.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Crazy eh? A policy that 91% of Americans support.

      And he’s taking alot ofbheat from it from his base

      And pushback for his LGBT remarks

      Can’t think of a more telling example of the moral bankruptcy of the right wing base then the fact that his overt racism, xenophobia, and bigotry doesn’t faze them, but one thing they won’t stand for is a candidate who doesn’t hate gays and doesn’t support the right if terrorists to own guns.

      The resistence from some of these politicians isn’t JUST about the NRA though. Especially in the case of mid Western reps, they’re probably worried that their base (i.e. the militias/”sovereign citizens “) is going to end up on those lists at some time.

      • 1mime says:

        Ah, has the “real” GOP just spoken out?
        Le Trimp is peeling back the layers of years of obfuscation in the GOP. It’s the only refreshing aspect of Trump’s campaign. It’s about time the American people got a good, clear look at the party that has so successfully hidden their true agenda. It’s pathetic that they have been so successful in their spin for so long. Out of the closet with ya!

  4. flypusher says:

    Thread jack again. Hey look, Senate GOPers are taking a “stand” against Trump:

    So you’re just not going to talk about him for 5 months? Good luck with that, invertebrates.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Maybe if they stop talking about him he’ll go away.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I wonder if they’re more afraid of his supporters or of Trump himself.

      • 1mime says:

        I’d say both but for different reasons. Trump, because he is not a true conservative, nor is he “controllable”, and thus unpredictable. And his supporters because they thwart their ability to intervene with a different candidate.

  5. unarmedandunafraid says:

    As to the original question, House of Cards or Veep?.

    David Brin writes, “the Obama administration is about to be only the second eight-year presidency in well over a century ever to end without a single high official convicted, or even indicted, for any substantial malfeasance of office.” (

    “Oh, what’s the other 8-year administration that came out clean as a whistle, despite desperate opposition efforts to find something corrupt or criminal? The tenure of Bill Clinton.”

    Huhm, he said. Quietly resting his head on his hand.

    • Tom D says:

      From the same article, an intriguing idea:

      “Imagine saying that any 750,000 citizens can unite to “buy” or to “elect” a representative, unanimously. All the other reps must find 750,000… say among single university women or all the truck drivers in the midwest. If your constituency shrinks below 700K you better recruit more citizens or you are out of office and those 600,000 need to fish around and build alliances to get over the mark.

      This way, no one is disenfranchised, ever! And yes, it means that large cults, even hate groups, might pool to get a representative or two. So? By the same token, those fanatics would thereupon have ZERO residual impact on ANY other representative. Ponder that.”

      I am pondering it. It’s like the opposite of gerrymandering: voters organize themselves into constituencies, instead of representatives being able to choose their constituents. Why not?

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I said this a year or so ago and I believe it even more now, when all is said and done, Obama will be remembered as one of the best presidents of the 20th century.

    • 1mime says:

      Clinton – don’t forget Monica….

  6. Rob Ambrose says:

    New Bloomburg poll gives Clinton a 12 point lead.

    Hopefully the inevitable crash doesn’t happen TOO soon. Being an overt racist wasn’t enough to get the GOP to use the nuclear option at the convention , but I bet the perception of a losing campaign will .

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Hardly surprising, but still devastating to see that 63% (Sixty. Three. Freakin’. Percent.) of women said they would NEVER vote for Trump.

      And, my particular favorite, just look at Trump’s margins among white man, where he should be doing his absolute best. He’s only leading Clinton by 17 points, 50 to 33%. Sounds great, until you learn that Romney won 62% of that same group in 2012, and we all know how that one turned out.

      And last but not least, has anyone seen that poll out of Ruby Red Kansas? Clinton’s up by seven there. For Republicans to show weakness like that in a state they’ve had a stranglehold over for the overwhelming part of the last century, that’s just stunning. It would still be nothing short of a shock for her to win it in November (she’d have to have things going historically well for her, even with Trump as the nominee), but still surprising.

      • 1mime says:

        Read earlier that a Romney affiliate (whatever that means) is directing a campaign that will allow a third candidate to be placed on the ballot in all 50 states. Might this be the dark horse effort by Cruz? Or, Romney? The plot thickens. The quieter it gets over in GOPland, the more plausible something like this sounds.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Republicans won’t get behind that, which is precisely why you hear more about them trying to derail Trump in Cleveland, rather than a flailing attempt to recruit a third-party candidate. After all, doing that would effectively create a four-way race between Clinton, Trump, Johnson and whoever the other person would be. You might as well hand Clinton the keys to the White House and ask Bill if it’s alright to start referring to him as the First Gentleman.

        There aren’t any good options, so Republicans are just trying to mitigate the damage as best they can. Best of luck with that.

      • 1mime says:

        Do you think these disenchanted Repubs would collectively get behind Johnson who will be on the ballot?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Johnson would probably have been a viable alternative that Republicans could swallow about a decade ago, but not now. I can certainly see a fair number of disaffected ones voting for him out of frustration with Clinton and Trump. How far would that take him though? I’d keep an eye out to see if he polls well enough to make it into the presidential debates (if we have them at all this year, that is).

        While we’re on the subject of Johnson though, this is a good opportunity to run through his positions real quick. In some respects, he’s reasonable. On others, he’s about as batshit crazy as any Republican in Congress.

        Numero uno on the batshit crazy list is his call for a balanced budget. Never mind a gradual approach like Clinton did in the 1990s; Johnson would take a meat cleaver to government spending and do it all at once. He’s called for cutting spending by TRILLIONS of dollars, along with a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. All terrible ideas which would, IMO, throw the country into an outright depression.

        Now on social issues, he’s quite liberal in some respects and would probably piss a lot of Republicans off here. He’s a supporter of abortion rights, though he doesn’t agree with how Roe vs. Wade was decided and thinks such issues should be left up to the states. He believes the so-called War on Drugs has been a failure and is in favor of legalizing marijuana, regulating and taxing it. Also, he’s in favor of gay marriage and that, prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, believed that the government should’ve passed a law legalizing it all across America.

        On the military, let’s just say that John McCain probably wouldn’t want to drink a beer with him. He’s anti-interventionist for the most part and would include a cut of nearly 50% to the military’s defense budget.

        Overwhelmingly though, he’s anti-government, though he claims to believe in “free market” capitalism. He believes that only role of government is to let the market run unfettered and without restrictions. Needless to say, he and Teddy Roosevelt would not have seen eye to eye.

        So, really, the guy’s a mixed bag. In a year like this one, there’s probably enough to like about him that some could vote for him out of sheer frustration, but is he going to gain any serious traction if he got any serious media scrutiny? Seriously doubt it.

      • 1mime says:

        Of all the negatives you cited about Johnson, it would be the DOD cut that would be his death knell. We have already observed that when it gets right down to it, party is more important than abortion or gay marriage….in fact, party is “everything”..

    • It is my hope Trumpy does get the nomination. Trumpy might just be the only Republican Hillary can beat!

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, I agree. Just what would “de-railing” Trump in Cleveland look like? Another name dropped in the pot at the last minute? How can Trump be de-railed at this point by the GOP unless they simply don’t vote for him…

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Hillary could beat them all at this point. Granted, if Trump was never in the picture, shed probably have trouble beating a Kasich or Rubio type.

        But given the reality that Trumpnisbthe presumptive nom, if anybody else gets the nom over him, there will be enough enraged Trumpkins who will rebel and stay home (or even vite HRC) to make a GOP win impossible. Adding to that dynamic is that any smart pol will understand that, and they’d never be able to convince an actual strong candidate to run. They’d get some has been or never was. Nobody with any interest in politics behind 2016 would agree to do it

  7. 1mime says:

    It is not surprising but it is disappointing that the GOP is affirming the outrageous accusations and innuendos Donald Trump is making rather than calling him out. Instead, many are using him as a foil for their own beliefs.

  8. 1mime says:

    The Orlando news of note today relates to the testimony of Mateen’s current (second) wife who informed law enforcement that she knew of he was thinking about doing something violent in a venue…including Pulse. In fact, she drove him around and reportedly was with him when he purchased his guns.

    I don’t see how she isn’t charged for failure to report this information timely.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      The new twist in the story of the Orlando Nightclub Massacre shooter’s life (the possibility of him being gay or having homosexual tendencies), the testimony of his unstable nature by the former wife, suggestions of mental instability by co-workers and the ex-wife, a suggestion he was bi-polar, his fathers humiliating criticism of him as a homosexual in front of a spouse… it all makes me less and less certain that this incident is a classic case of an act of religiously inspired terrorism.

      I mean, how many times have we heard the story where that famous homophobe everyone knew was secretly gay?

      Roy Cohn anyone? Ted Haggard? How about Dennis Hastert (nationally famous politician) who passed bills to fight child abuse while having the dark past of being a child sex offender.

      To me it seems these are the actions of a run of the mill, sexually confused maniac who’s life was running off the rails and could no longer process the glaring contradictions of his life. The catastrophe occurred when he had access to those weapons.

      Simply having no criminal record doesn’t mean an individual is in any condition to have the responsible mindset to possess armor piercing rounds by the hundreds or semi-automatic weapons.

      It just means someone like Omar Mateen was lucky at not having everyone come to a unified conclusion he was dangerously out of his mind before he decided to kill lots of people.

      The issue of domestic violence should also be discussed. If Omar had been convicted of the abuse of his ex-wife he probably would have never been able to legally purchase those weapons. A domestic violence felony might have prevented serial rapist/kidnapper Ariel Castro from being a school bus driver in Cleveland, which no doubt allowed him to troll for his future captives (who were sometimes the classmates of his daughter). He also was horribly abusive towards the mother of his children.

      In my humble opinion, a man who beats up a woman, girlfriend or wife with impunity has the capacity to commit far more monstrous acts.

      A longer wait time in my opinion could have made the difference in whether or not 50 people would have lost their lives. If there is any validity that he was a frequent patron the Nightclub he devastated, it could then be suggested that this man wanted to remain in the closet even after death.

      Doesn’t it feel like that ISIS claim was all a smokescreen on the part of the shooter?

      I just feel in light of the complexity of this horrid case, all of us (politicians included) need to step back and let an investigation continue to perhaps one day determine some logic from this moment of murderous madness.

      But as a certain politician has already proven with his renewed and irrefutably stupid plan to ban Muslim travel and immigration, my desire for rational introspection on this issue hay fall on deaf ears.

      In other words: Donald Trump maybe should have kept his big f***ing mouth shut.

      • flypusher says:

        I have it on good authority that Ted Haggert is completely heterosexual:


    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

      Lots of positive stories;

      Difficult to donate blood during Ramadan, but lots of Muslims doing it.

      Struck by this: “Muslim women in hijab carrying food and water to donors standing in line”

      • flypusher says:

        You always see both the best and the worst of humanity on display after such disasters. Trump isn’t the worst of the worst, but he is firmly in the bad response camp here.

      • objv says:

        Homer, glad to hear it.

    • tmerritt15 says:

      One of the most powerful experiences in my life was when I toured the American Cemetery in Normandy in 1986. Among the rows of Crosses there was an occasional Star of David. I thought to myself that here laid a person who had made the ultimate sacrifice for America, despite having been discriminated against. I also thought that if the same were repeated in the future there would be Islamic Crescents and other symbols. Behold the Islamic community in the U.S. are showing that they are part of the great American fabric. I am sure that there are numerous Muslims that have made the ultimate sacrifice during our current “long war” following 911, but it is not as obvious as at the American Cemetery in Normandy.

  9. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    Certainly, we cannot get rid of the Second Amendment, and people have freedom to do many, many things that other people find objectionable.

    However, we should be able to implement common sense provisions to help protect the lives of potential gun owners.

    We already have a template for this, just ask a woman who wants an abortion.

    Mandatory 48-hr (or 72-hr if your governor is a Republican) waiting period to buy a gun
    A note from his doctor proving the person understands what he’s about to do by buying a gun,
    A video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence,
    An ultrasound wand up the ass (just because).
    Close down all but one gun shop in every state (because their hallways are too narrow) and make the person travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun.
    Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.

    People seem to believe we can utilize these common sense solutions for women seeking healthcare without violating their constitutional rights, certainly the same would apply to responsible gun ownership.

    • 1mime says:

      Homer, this is so cool!

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        I can’t take credit for it (just blame for posting it here). It is a somewhat viral message that goes around each time we have a mass shooting.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Nailed it

    • objv says:

      Clever, Homer. I thought you had written it. It is not unlike your usual sense of humor and I always enjoy your quirky sense of fun.

      One big difference that should be pointed out is that all abortions (unless the fetus is all ready dead) end a human life. Only a tiny percentage of guns actually kill people.

      My husband owns about five guns. (I’m not even sure of the number.) None of the guns have been used to kill anyone and hopefully never will. The only thing dead is a copperhead snake and that was only because we were afraid that it could potentially bite one of our kids.

      I’m glad that Tracy has joined the discussion. Something does need to be done to make sure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands. Due to my complete disinterest in guns, I’m not familiar with laws currently on the books. Banning guns outright might backfire (no pun intended) since the shooter in Orlando could have been potentially stopped if there had been another person with a gun at the club. The shooter had to take time to reload multiple times. There could have been an opportunity for someone else to stop him before more were killed.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “One big difference that should be pointed out is that all abortions (unless the fetus is all ready dead) end a human life.”

        This is your opinion OB, and of course it is your right to hold it. It would be a mistake to assume that this is fact though, and extrapolate any coherent policy from it though, considering the majority of Americans disagree, and the vast majority of the experts whose job it is to actually study these things, such as biologists.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        objv – Good to hear from you. When you say “Something does need to be done to make sure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands.” You are agreeing with me and the “anti-gun” people in general. When you suggest something specific is when you will get major pushback.

      • easyfortytwo says:

        “One big difference that should be pointed out is that all abortions (unless the fetus is all ready dead) end a human life.”

        And it should be pointed out that St Thomas Aquinas would be among those who disagree with this statement.

      • Stephen says:

        There is thought that some people were killed by friendly police fire. If this can happen with train and experience personnel do you think that Joe or Jane sixpack armed and firing in a crowded chaotic bar would make things safer?

        Personally I think making it harder for unhinged people to get such killing weapons is a better solution.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        objv – Now that we have found a point of agreement, howabout we request a government commission to reduce gun violence? No? How about a government commission to gather info on gun violence so if we wanted a commission to reduce gun violence…. aahww never mind.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        We have very effective gun control in effect now. The National Firearms Act (NFA) very effectively has reduced the use of automatic weapons in commission of crimes to almost zero. These automatic weapons were used by the criminal element and we passed a law. Simple. All we have to do is move certain other weapons into that classification, and Sally’s your aunt. After all these modern weapons seem to be favored by the criminal element.

    • It’s interesting to note that even if HH’s safeguards were *all* in place, it would have made no difference in Orlando. Evil always seems to find a way. Chew on that for a bit.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Well, we don’t exactly know that Tracy.

        Just as all of the above “common sense provisions to protect the safety of women” may not technically stop someone from having an abortion, we don’t know that having an ultrasound wand stuffed up Mateen’s ass might have dissuaded him from purchasing a gun or if having to drive a couple hundred miles and listen to someone provide scientifically inaccurate information about gun usage might have caused him to re-think his position.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Houston

        We kind of do know –
        In Ozzy when they had their crackdown they put some hoops that a gun owner had to jump through
        Nothing like the ultrasound wand – just filling out a few forms and going to an interview

        In hindsight they reckon that those few hoops saved a lot of lives – the sort of loonies that do the mass shootings are not very good at the sort of things that normal people can just do

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Tracy – I actually mostly agree with you here.

        There are no gun control measures that would have stopped this guy. Other than outlawing this type of weapon and ammunition, and even with that, he could still have done plenty of damage with other weapons.

        If killing 20 babies at Sandy Hook didn’t make a difference, killing 50 gay men will not move the needle one bit.

        I do not agree with Lifer here that the NRA position will ultimately result in a total crackdown and/or bans on personal weapons.

        The “debate” about gun control ended at Sandy Hook, and the gun control position lost.

        Unless massacres start happening on a near daily basis, in suburbs with lots of middle class White folks, nothing is going to change. Even if that did happen, the change would likely just be that more people would buy guns to protect themselves.

        The barn door is open and the barn burned down…I don’t know how we walk it back to a more reasonable position.

      • 1mime says:

        Evil may always find a way, but that doesn’t justify not trying to stop it. Think of all the things we have changed in America that were wrong – for a very long time – until people got fed up and rose up. Gun violence is one of those areas, Tracy. There may be little we can do to change a culture of violence but to not try would be worse.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Duncan, an interesting aspect of the Australian law to me is that membership in a gun club is required if you get a gun.

        I hope that lessens the ability of a loner goonie to stew alone, in isolation. At least somebody knows he out there, with a weapon, even if he doesn’t become social chair of the club.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Bobo

        That is one of the simple “hoops” that a gun owner has to jump through – and it turns out that it is no trouble at all for most people but the sort of person who does the mass shooting has real problems
        And as a result does not get a gun

  10. Hmm. Can’t say I’ve watched any of ’em. My beloved and I are currently enjoying the heck out of “Endeavor” (BBC show, originally aired here on PBS). It’s a lovely break from all the utter dreck currently polluting the broadcast spectrum.

  11. Rob Ambrose says:

    Hmmmmm…..looks like the shooter has been drinking at the club dozens of time. CNN suggests he might have been “casing” the place, but I’ve got a feeling we’re gonna find out soon enough that he was a horribly conflicted gay man.

    Which would explain lots of things, such as how he had a drag queen friend in high school and pledged allegiance to ISIS, AL Nusra, AND AQ, despite all three routinely killing each other.

    Good thing Trump called that emergency speech.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Sooooo…..trump looks kinda stupid now for that over the top emergency speech, right?

      Pretty easy to see how Hillary is going to spin this: he doesn’t have the temperament to be Prez. He was ready to start bombing Muslim countries (not literally) actually saying the words “they’re coming to take our children”.

      All for a mentally ill self loathing gay man.

      Trump looks like an absolute chicken little. Not very presidential.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        I’m not so sure.

        It’s now even more easy for Trump to take the high ground, call Islam a corrupted death cult, and say that’s what drove this gay man to terrorism. And that followers of Islam – I.e Muslims, all 1.6 billion of them are dangerous.

        I mean, extremes of religion causing problems for gay people isn’t new (remember those gay therapy camps?), but no one should be expecting consistency from Trump.

        That’s what I’d do if I was Trump anyway. It’s even got a kernel of truth in it.

      • 1mime says:

        Unfortunately, I am hearing that Drumpf’s base is all in for the Islamophobia. There is no way a rational person can grasp the mind of his base.

      • flypusher says:

        Trump and high ground in the same sentence? Ha! Watch him call for a total shutdown on gays coming into this country until we figure out what’s going on.

        Trump could make those arguments about Islam oppressing gay people. But many gay people in this country can tell stories about extreme forms of Christianity ruining their lives, as you have noted. It goes over the heads of Trump and his brain dead followers, but it’s another thing to make the GOP sell outs squirm. Those people are the real political targets. So let Trump keep prematurely jumping to the wrong conclusions and doubling down on bigotry, and sticking both feet in his mouth.

        Remember GOPe, what happens in the voting booth stays in the voting booth.

        Also, if anyone had a legit claim on “I told you so” after this tragedy, it’s President Obama. Note the huge contrast between his response and that if the thin-skinned vulgarian.

      • 1mime says:

        This is actually a pretty good refutation of Trump’s speech on terrorism.

      • 1mime says:

        A more scholarly analysis of Trump’s base on his comments on terrorism:

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “It’s now even more easy for Trump to take the high ground, call Islam a corrupted death cult, and say that’s what drove this gay man to terrorism”

        I mean….he could, but would anybody fall for it? It’s not like everybody isn’t aware that the GOP has spent the past 12 months passing trans bill after teans bill. And that they’ve been fighting tooth and nail against the LGBT community since, well, forever.

        I don’t think anybody is going to suddenly think that Trump and the GOP have now suddenly become allies in the fight.

        And, frankly, I don’t think Trumpbhas the ability to control the media message on this. He came out, forcefully, far before enough facts came out that this was radical Islamic terrorism, and laid out an incredibly divisive “solution”. He also blamed the President (and outrageously implied he might be ” in on it”). He also tried to sow division in the nation by suggesting that “The Muslims” know who is planning the attacks and are just refusing to turn them in. This was designed to do nothing but make everyone look at every Muslim they see and think “is he a terrorist? Does he know any?”

        To do all that before we have enough info very risky. Sure, he potentially could look like he’s on the ball IF it turns out he was right. But if he’s wrong (and it’s looking more and more like he was) then he’s going to look absurd.

        What better proof of his poor temperament? What if he was Pres? Would he have bombed countries by now? Only to find out later that “oops, it wasn’t really terrorism at all”?

      • 1mime says:

        The thing is, Rob, positions on homophobia and Islamophobia are so hardened that those who are responsive to reason already are onboard and those who buy into fear and bigotry simply sign on no questions asked. I’d like to think that Trump supporters who are motivated by job loss would not support this extreme rhetoric Trump spews, but that is difficult to assess. I worry about how already angry people are being agitated ,encouraged, and misled and what impact this has on the election and more broadly, destabilization of our country.

      • 1mime says:

        Pres. Obama is excoriating trump on his islamaphobic rhetoric and in the process, offering a primer on American values. A must see! A full frontal attack on Trump. Go O! (On the Don’s 70th birthday, no less.).

  12. fiftyohm says:

    I sure wish Tracy would ring in on this discussion! I don’t even carry a firearm, nor have I ever said I even own one, dammit.

    • 1mime says:

      Ha! You’re finding yourself the “defender” if the conservative movement Fifty! An unenviable task on this blog! Hang in there…..someone’s gotta sacrifice themselves to the cause (-;

    • Fifty, not sure what to ring in on, other than that the attack occurred in yet another gun free zone, and that the shooter was able to prosecute his attack on unarmed, helpless victims until an armed response finally made its appearance, and put an end to the heinous attack by *shooting* back. The attacker, lacking any sort of criminal record, reportedly purchased his weapons legally. Nor is it clear that *any* additional restrictions on legal purchase (waiting periods, etc.) would have made one iota of difference in his ability to legally obtain his chosen tools of mayhem. It’s seems clear that this was a premeditated, planned assault, not dissimilar in form or results from other recent attacks.

      • Creigh says:

        Yikes, Tracy, my house is a gun free zone (not intentionally, it just is). Are you implying that excuses something?

      • texan5142 says:

        Yep! That would have solved everything. The gun free zone of three hundred people partying and drinking could have stopped this mad man. Just think if only a few drunks partying that night would have been armed they could have started shooting, then the armed security guards could of joined in not knowing who the good guy was or the bad guy. Shit, now the good intoxicated guy with a gun thinks the security guard with a gun might be a bad guy with a gun and shoots him. Wait, now it is a circle jerk of people shooting each other in all the confusion because the good guys with a gun are not wearing white hats and the bad guy with a gun his not wearing his black hat as proper identification. Fuck it, mow everyone with a gun down and figure it out later.

      • easyfortytwo says:

        It’s frankly hilarious that you think that you could get gay people to go to any nightclub where guns are allowed.

      • Creigh, one presumes you’ve examined the evidence of what tends to happen when an armed assailant with vicious intent encounters unarmed victims (Orlando being the most recent example), and have reached a somewhat different conclusion than I regarding home security. I don’t view luck as being a valid plan, and order my affairs accordingly. Ah, well, to each their own.

        I certainly have no particular issue with gun free zones; businesses should be free to define their own policy with respect to armed patrons. Also, Texas has the same 51% rule as Florida, which makes most Texas bars and nightclubs gun free zones. However, it’s patently obvious that mass murderers and terrorists prioritize gun free zones in their target selection. It’s also patently obvious that the *only* thing that stops such an attacker is an armed response. Accordingly, for my part, I simply to choose to avoid most such venues. MFAH and the Museum of Natural Science are on my exception list; the pleasure I derive from those institutions outweighs the security risk. I suppose many make similar decisions regarding nightclubs. I do actively patronize those few gun free venues, like the Houston Rodeo, that take the security of their patrons seriously. However, given the choice between a gun free venue, and one that allows concealed carry, I’ll choose the latter every time.

        Note that I harbor no illusions about my ability to hit a moving target in a chaotic environment. I routinely hog hunt with pistols in low light conditions, and I know from abundant experience how challenging that kind of shooting can be. And hogs don’t shoot back, nor are they milling about with panicked human beings. Nonetheless, I’ll take a small chance over no chance every single time.

        To the extent we are able, we all order our lives to avoid physical conflict (outside, perhaps, the organized and rule-bound confines of the dojo, ring or mat). We all *hope* to lead an existence untroubled by violence. Some (perhaps even you, Creigh) are so troubled by the thought of confronting violence, that they discount any probability of its occurrence. Such folks must unfortunately content themselves with dying in abject, helpless horror (or perhaps impotent, seething rage) in the event they find themselves in extremis. Others choose to take reasonable and prudent measures to mitigate the consequences of such an (admittedly unlikely) occurrence; i.e. they would rather have an opportunity to weather the encounter, or at least the option of departing this plane standing on their hind legs. Again, to each their own. I merely humbly request that you politely refrain from limiting *my* options for self defense.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Tracey
        Did you not see? – They tested this after the Hebdo shooting

        They got groups together and gave one guy a paintball gun – or several
        Then they “attacked” with paintball guns

        The victims knew that the attack was going to happen

        Did this a number of times with different people

        The result was striking – the bad guys won – EVERY TIME

        Having armed good guys – failed hypothesis!!

      • flypusher says:

        ” Again, to each their own. I merely humbly request that you politely refrain from limiting *my* options for self defense.”

        Since you have a concealed carry license, you’re gone through a process that requires some proof of responsibility. I’ll go out on a limb and presume the speak for the lefty section of the blog here- if these standards were required for ALL gun owners, we’d be fine with that.

        Would that be 100% effective? No, but it would be an improvement, and these days there is far too much letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

        I’m also down with a liability insurance requirement, but we’ve already been through that and neither of our minds are going to change there.

      • 1mime says:

        As a Lefty, I second that position, Fly, and add this: it is not unreasonable to remove repeat rifles and high round ammo clips from purchase for individual use. These weapons do not belong in the hands of anyone other than those charged with law enforcement or war. Further, all law enforcement agencies, health agencies, and divisions of government which are involved in or with protection of the citizenry of America should be authorized to share data. Absent this authority, the system will never be as effective as it could be in prevention of violence and terrorism.

      • Fly, it’s where our rights intersect with public life that regulatory oversight has a place.

        Like pretty much anybody else, I’d like to have some reasonable degree of confidence that those who are going about armed in public have met some minimal standard to demonstrate they can carry and operate their weapon safely. When I’m out and about, I don’t want to have my tenure on this lovely little rock ended prematurely by some yahoo’s negligent discharge; I trust you feel pretty more or less the same way.

        On the other hand, what people choose to do in their own homes and on their own property (as long as it stays on their own property) is their own business. If somebody wants to get falling down drunk and juggle cocked-and-locked 1911’s whilst naked as a jaybird in the privacy of their own bedroom, why, that may not be my cup of tea, but it’s their own business. Dittos if they want to let their kiddies play with the crack pipe and the loaded pistol they left on the coffee table in the family room. Not my department. And if something bad should happen, well, I’ll shed a tear and chalk one up for Darwin.

        So with respect to regulation and the term “ALL gun owners,” I’ll modify your assertion slightly as “ALL gun owners who wish to bear arms outside their home.” With respect to such requirements, they should be as minimally intrusive as is reasonably prudent. I can easily afford to take a work day or two off for mandatory training and testing, and I can afford to pay for it. However, there are many who can’t, and the last thing we want is to turn training requirements into a poll tax on the poor, such that they effectively cannot exercise their natural right to self defense.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        Tracy, I do not want to limit *your* options for self-defense. I want to limit the options of obviously crazy people to go on the offense. Difficult problem to be sure. I’m open to suggestions on how to solve the problem but bottom line is we should try something.

        My 11 yr old boy and I had to do 8 hours of gun safety to get his hunting license. That type of thing might deter crazy people. Better, I think, would be more support for families of mentally ill people. A lot of that stuff got gutted in the eighties. A system that ignores a spouse’s warning that they are married to a violent nut case fails to identify violent nut cases.

        Something like a restraining order but a level up, requiring a bit more evidence, might help get people institutionalized who are thinking thoughts like these. Restricting guns to a certain group of offenders, domestic violence, child abuse, etc. does not strike me as a restriction to the general populations right to bear arms.

      • 1mime, with respect to “repeat rifles” and “high round ammo clips,” those particular genies have been out of the bottle for well over 100 years, and I don’t think it’s remotely possible to stuff them back in. (The original Henry Repeating Rifle used in the Civil War was, perhaps apocryphally, described by Confederate soldiers as, “that damn Yankee rifle that you load on Sunday and shoot all week.”)

        Based on the number of killed and wounded, the shooter executed *multiple* magazine swaps. That’s utterly unsurprising; a person with even minimal skills can swap a magazine in under a second. The notion that limiting magazine capacity is magically going to save lives is simply laughable to anybody who knows anything about firearms.

        With respect to “repeat rifles,” fully automatic firearms (pull back the trigger and spray bullets) have been strictly regulated in the U.S. since 1934, and no new automatic firearms have entered the civilian market since 1986. I.e., they are hard to come by. Semi-automatic pistols (one pull of the trigger, one shot) have been around since 1898; semi-automatic rifles since 1908 (if memory serves). Semi-automatic pistols are marginally faster than revolvers, particularly in the hands of a neophyte; the same is true of semi-automatic rifles in comparison to lever-action and pump-action rifles. In the hands of anybody with even a modicum skill, the speed differences are negligible. I grew up shooting lever-actions and pump-actions; I’m just as fast with my pump-action shotgun as I am with my semi-auto shotgun. And as a matter of fact, manufacturers are starting to offer pump-action AR-style rifles for those benighted locales that outlaw semi-automatic rifles on the basis that they are somehow inherently evil. For instance:

        For an example of how fast a revolver or lever/pump action rifle can be, see the following:

        I’m not near as fast as Jerry or Dan, but you’d be surprised at how little difference there really is between competent competitive shooters and the top flight competitors. The bottom line is that just about any monster willing to spend a little time and money can develop the skills necessary to shoot up a soft target like a nightclub with just about *any* type of firearm. The fact that these scum gravitate towards Glocks and AR-style rifles is merely an indicator of the popularity of these styles of firearms, not their relative deadliness.

        One suspects that we might ultimately do a lot more good trying to address the person *behind* the weapon, rather than the weapon itself, which is, in the final analysis, an inanimate object.

      • “I want to limit the options of obviously crazy people to go on the offense.”

        Jeff, you and I are in complete agreement on that score. Same goes for criminals. And, yes, the Hunter’s Ed. programs I’ve participated in (with my kids) have been uniformly excellent. Mine are grown; I hope you have lots of good hunting adventures with your son. I miss those days like crazy! 🙂

        With respect to the crazies and criminals, I would hazard that there is no 100% effective solution, but we certainly can do much better. We already have the requisite laws on the books; I refer you to BATFE Form 4473 (, questions 11. a. through f., which list all the conditions that make you a prohibited person with respect to lawful firearms ownership. It’s perhaps a matter of more vigorous enforcement, and better coordination between mental healthcare providers and law enforcement. Sadly, BATFE’s track record on enforcement (under both GOP and Dem administration) has been pretty dismal. Then again, one suspects that BATFE is well aware that criminals don’t obtain firearms in transactions that involve filling out Form 4473, like the rest of us. So perhaps I should cut them a bit of slack.

        Regardless, I can’t help but suspect that if my friends on the left would expend just half as much energy on actual firearms law enforcement and safety programs as they do on pursuing gun bans, we’d all be that much better off.

      • Creigh says:

        Tracy, I concede your point about responsibility for my gun choices, but I feel like I’m being put on a slippery slope situation here. For example, if I had a gun but didn’t have it drawn and the safety off would I still be responsible? If I didn’t shoot first would I still be responsible? Where I’m going with this is that bringing up the gun free zone issue starts to feel like blaming the victim, if there isn’t a logical end point for the responsibility issue.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        You cannot do the damage with older tech guns that you can with newer tech guns. If you could the army would still be using lever action rifles and cap and ball pistols. Newer technology is faster, more reliable, and puts more lead in live, feeling body parts. Lever action rifles are fast but, you see there’s a tube that gets loaded, kind, of, slowly. then you can get to shootin agin. Speed loaders can help pistols with swing cylinders, and break over pistols, but they still hold 6 max shots and would require ~17 bulky loads to shoot 100 people. AND SO ON. Anyone who would lead you to believe otherwise is a practised sleight of hand artist. LOOK A SQUIRREL.

        And if someone tries to say they just want the laws on the books enforced,

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        The aggressor always has the advantage of choosing when and where. This negates any planning and training of the defensive person.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Sensible gun regulations are for the seller not the buyer.

      • 1mime says:

        Tracy, I’m going to reply here “collectively”….First, I completely disagree with your statement about “what goes on in one’s house is ….not my concern (essentially)”…..your example of a child handling a loaded gun and being shot as Darwin….children are innocents, it is right that we protect them – from abusive parents/other adults in the privacy of their homes or elsewhere. Are you saying that a child who is abused by a parent “within the four walls of their home” is outside the realm of public responsibility? A woman who is abused by her spouse in their home is not cause for intervention by authorities? I understand you espouse a Libertarian point of view, but we live in a society with rules, possibly some good and some bad, but necessary to maintain order and safety. I extend my concern to the issue of guns. The ban on assault weapons was allowed to expire in 2004 and blocked from reactivation again in 2013. If we removed this one gun it might not make as much difference to violence as I hope, but boy would it be an important signal as to America’s stand on gun violence.

        I am not interested in all the minutiae about guns. I am very interested in working together to find ways to address violence related to guns. This will necessarily involve changes in individual behavior; however, the NRA has promoted a culture of “guns as inviolate rights and symbols of virility” as to render sensible efforts mostly impossible. I think that is wrong.

        We disagree profoundly on this issue but I think we can agree that we can do better as a nation to address gun violence. It can happen when responsible gun owners, such as yourself, join with others to find practical ways to bring about change.

      • JeffAtWolfcreek says:

        Hey Tracy, that was a very reasonable response to my post. I hope you know I respect you and your opinion. You do a great job of voicing the minority (minority on this comment section anyway). Gun control isn’t easy and I doubt there are any perfect answers but until we can hear each other nothing gets solved. Thanks for taking the time to listen.

  13. vikinghou says:

    This NYT article pretty much sums up the gun violence problem we have in the USA. We are truly in a class by ourselves compared to the rest of the developed world.

    Some have argued that gun control isn’t the solution because the country is already awash in guns. If so, then the only other explanation is that we are a nation of sick puppies.

    • 1mime says:

      “We are a nation of sick puppies…..” ( with ready access to guns of all kinds with insufficient background controls ….my opinion.)

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      From the link:

      This level of violence makes the United States an extreme outlier when measured against the experience of other advanced countries.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        It just is really not arguable: more guns make a society less safe, and causes more gun deaths. This is indisputable.

        Now, the question is: how much violence is acceptable? That’s for each country to decide, but it’s really not arguable that a society gets more guns, gun violence goes up. And if they get less, it will go down.

        That’s not to say that many INDIVIDUALS are safer with guns then without. A person properly trained and with a proper respect for firearms is likely much safer overall. But when you zoom out and look at it from a total societal perspective, there will always be enough idiots out there so that gun violence will always be highly correlated to guns available

    • It only takes a very small minority of whackos to cause all this violence.And here in Florida, guns are everywhere! And the gun lobby, the NRA, owns the Florida legislature. Here the big discussion is open carry and guns on college campuses. In Florida, we have 1,400,000 carry permits and that number is growing every day!

      I have no idea what the answer to all this is. Years ago, 1968-1976, i worked for the IRS, part of that time in Newark, New Jersey in the large federal building. People walked in and out of the building all the time. No security! No armed guards! But in the 1990’s all that changed. Metal detectors at every entrance with armed guards. Maybe that is what our society will come to if we are not almost there already!

  14. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Regarding the shooter, I’ve been wondering about a couple of things.

    It is reported he beat his former wife, who described him as ‘unstable’ and ‘bipolar’. Would his family have recognized his state of mind as dangerous if poor treatment of women was not a fairly standard component of Afghan culture?

    Truth is, I hate writing that because I know nothing about the family except what has been reported.

    But one of the items reported was about his father’s videos:

    In one video, the elder Mateen expresses gratitude toward the Afghan Taliban, while denouncing the Pakistani government.

    “Our brothers in Waziristan, our warrior brothers in [the] Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up,” he said.

    When the taliban ruled Afghanistan, their edicts regarding women were cruel, very cruel. They wouldn’t let women to have jobs, wouldn’t let women see male doctors (but female doctors were not allowed to work….) and had a rule about women not wearing loud shoes nor white socks. White is the color of the taliban flag. Oh the stupidity.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Good post, Bobo. I tend to think his behavior was “not particularly notable” in that community. We rightly consider it uncivilized.

    • 1mime says:

      Had his first wife (and probably the second as well – wife beating tends to be habitual) filed a police report, it is my understanding that this would have disqualified maternal from being able to purchase a gun. Like many women in domestic violent marriages, she probably was afraid to do so opting instead to get out if she could…and did. Lucky her.

      • 1mime says:

        Sorry, spellcheck!

        “Mateen” not maternal!

      • fiftyohm says:

        It’s a “cultural thing, don’t you know. You can’t judge them from the outside!!!

      • 1mime says:

        Right, but it sucks for the women……..

      • It is a sad commentary upon our society that most domestic violence goes unreported, for a variety of reasons, regardless of the skin colour and ethnic background of the victim or perpetrator.

        A common refrain among survivors is that they didn’t tell anyone because they feared retribution, didn’t have the means to live independently or didn’t think people would believe them. That last concern, sadly, is pretty accurate – as we’re now seeing in the case of the rapist Brock Turner, people will do impressive mental gymnastics in order to exonerate men of their misdeeds.

        As such, I think we should be very slow to indict “Afghan culture” for this. White people carry out domestic violence and are its victims and sympathisers too. It’s a more widespread problem, and needs to be handled in a widespread manner.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Right. Because we can find examples of misbehavior in every culture, (or religion), we just can’t say one is worse than the others. They are therefore all the same. That’s such an old and tired refrain. One keeps women in fricking bags and beats them as a matter of doctrine, for chrissake.

        Wake up.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I have no problems whatsoever that parts of certain cultures are inherently misogynist and have some barbaric practices.

        We have our own flaws, but at least beating your wife, or raping her, or anybody these things are illegal here, and if reported, will result in charges. Now, there’s a whole host of reasons why domestic abuse may be very underreported and such, but no woman, anywhere, who goes to a police station to file a report will be laughed at.

        No woman who reports a rape here will be arrested for adultery, like what happened in Quatar to a Dutch ex pat last week (she got sentenced to a year for adultery for reporting a drugged rape).

        I have no compunctions whatsoever with saying these cultural/institutional practices are wrong. Full stop.

        And things such as female genital mutilation are objectively evil practices regardless of where you’re from.

        I don’t think it does any good to pay ourselves on the back for our moral superiority (we have more then our moral deficiency’s) but on some issues (specifically on human rights and equality) our society can claim the moral high ground

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – Whoa buddy! I don’t think we oughta go “patting ourselves on the back” either. Just saying that some cultural practices regarding women are sick and barbaric, like you said.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Sorry, not meaning you were implying that.

        I was more referring to myself, bevausebif I hadn’t put that in, my comment would have read an awful lot like I thought we had a clearly morally superior society in all ways, which I clearly do not.

        In certain ways though, yes, absolutely we do.

    • flypusher says:

      I’ll agree that any culture that oppresses a segment of their population, be it by gender, or skin color, or religious affiliation, or sexual orientation, etc. is backwards. But as far as linking Islam to some of the barbarism directed at women, everyone should note that atrocities like honor killing and female general mutilation predate Islam. Now it you want to criticize those sects of Islam that fail to denounce and outlaw and punish such backwardness, I’m 100% with you. That failure is on them. But don’t tar the more enlightened sects with the same brush.

      • fiftyohm says:

        FP – I think the discussion was about culture. Though it does merit mention that the problem of FGM and honor killings is almost exclusively, in terms of the numbers, an Islamic one.

  15. texan5142 says:

    Radicalization is a problem that will be the bane of society for many year to come in the foreseeable future, it has manifested in many ways. Be it the Bundy clan, Oath Keepers, or ISIS, etc. Stop the madness. Just as you or I would not let a toddler play with a sharp knife, we should not let adults play with weapons of carnage. For every responsible citizen, there are those that are not.

    • texan5142 says:

      Disclaimer, I own guns and love to target shoot. My gun of choice for target shooting is a PCP .22 caliber air gun, bolt action with a ten shot magazine.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Legally speaking, that’s not a firearm. That’s the topic, Tex. If the muzzle velocity exceeds 500 fps though, it is here in Canada. This was in response to a rash of airgun murders, of course…

      • fiftyohm says:

        And by the way, you’ll shoot your shoot your eye out.

    • fiftyohm says:

      But Tex, to be more respectful to your comment, (sorry), I own a car that is designed to exceed 190 MPH. And I drive it very, very fast, as it was designed to do. *On the racetrack!* Sure, I see assholes with identical cars doing stupid crap on public roads, and in the process, endangering innocent people. It pisses me off. Does this mean cars like the one I own should be prohibited from “adult” ownership?

      • 1mime says:

        As a follow up to your “very fast car story” – since you seem to agree that cars designed to travel at speeds well in excess of public limits should be driven only on special tracks, why are you not able to accept limiting the use of an repeating AR 15 to law enforcement and military personnel vs private use?

      • fiftyohm says:

        You mean “on gun ranges”? That’s the proper takeaway from the admittedly weak analogy, mime. I thought it was pretty obvious…

      • 1mime says:

        I’d call it a story, Fifty, but ….. No, I was suggesting that repeat rifles like the AR 15 should be limited in use and ownership to those in law enforcement and the military.

      • fiftyohm says:

        And it’s not a “story”.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Fifty, the car analogy doesn’t really fit. Cars (even fast ones) CAN kill and main, but that is not their main purpose. The AR 15 serves no purpose other then to kill as many people as quickly as possible (being a military designed weapon). Mushrooming ammunition is DESIGNED to tear as much flesh apart as it can before leaving as big an exit hole as possible.

        There is no NEED for these weapons. And since all rights must be balanced against all others, we as a society need to place the rights in the priorities that we wish.

        People who think their right to own whatever firearm they wish, using whatever ammunition they wish, inherently trumps every other right are free to use their political power to fight for that (and boy, do they). But those of us who disagree, and think that limits to the 2A in favor of other ones, such as the right to live free of the fear of being mowed down by easily accessible automatic weapons, are also free to use our political power to lower the precedence of the 2A over all other rights.

        So far, the “2A Trumps all!!” crowd has done very well for themselves. That is changing though.

        I do think this attack could bring change, given its close proximity to a presidential election. Gun control has never been a center piece of a presidential campaign, but if it becomes one now, and Hillary actually campaigns on it…..then you may see the polls on sensible gun control (overwhelming majority of Americans favor it) finally match up with the political action on it.

        There are many, many Americans who think that the right to bear arms belongs at the bottom of the “priority of rights) and as such should lose most times it is balanced against other rights. And if this is the shooting that finally tups the scales, it will be too late for the NRA to be part of the process and gun control will come without a seat at the table for ” responsible” gun owners.

        That starting to become a contradictory phrase. Any one who fights against gun control, after everything we’ve seen the past few decades, can no longer be called a responsible gun owner, even if they themselves have always acted responsibly with their own weapons. The very act of fighting even the most basic of gun regulations invalidates the preface “responsible” in “responsible gun ownership”

      • fiftyohm says:

        My fear is that if the Democrats take their eye off the ball, and focus on gun control instead of root causes, we run the risk of having ISIS elect the next president. (Attribution: Sam Harris, I think)

      • 1mime says:

        IMHO, this issue, this tragedy is the responsibility of both parties. I believe the gun aspect is a part but not the root cause as noted. But for Trump to “use” this horrible event as a political opportunity is reprehensible. Surely Repubs and Dems can agree Trump’s rhetoric is harmful andnot dangerous to our country’s security.

      • fiftyohm says:

        mime – The point is that were the Democrats to make gun control a big campaign issue, they’d get no additional votes from otherwise democratic voters, but there would be a YUGE turnout on the GOP side from voters voting “anything but Democrat”. That’s one of the ways they could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. There aren’t too many opportunities for that remaining. It goes like this: Want Trump to be President? Push a YUGE gun control agenda during the campaign.

  16. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    Yay!! 😞

    The predictable right is going and yelling about how it’s the fault of all the moozlems and guns today are A-OK. The predictable left is going and yelling about how it’s the fault of all the guns and that Islam today is A-OK.

    Has anyone considered it’s a bit of both?

    As far as the guns goes, I’ve come to the conclusion that the campaign to scare people into thinking that the govt will take all the guns away is working. Hell, one of my friends received a call I’m Indiana fundraising with basically this message. No, seriously. I wonder why the background checks failed to catch the terrorist. I don’t really understand how exactly they work, but if they only work if there’s an actual criminal record, or diagnosis of a psych condition, then I wonder if there’s any proactive value of background checks at all. Trying to ban “assault” weapons is a little silly, unless someone gives a good logical definition of what that means. Less nonsensical banhammers and regulations, limitations and more proactive background checks on all (semiautomatics?) please. Also, insurance. Maybe limit some weapons to licensed shooting ranges – sort of like track days for racing non street legal cars. I wonder if the NRA only pretends to represent gun owners but actually only represents gun manufacturers. I’m not really familiar with these things…

    OTOH, People need to stop pretending that Islam doesn’t have a problem. And no, that does NOT mean all 1.6 billion Muslims are a problem. Nor is it racist to say so. Islam is not a race, all Muslims are not brown, and all brown people are not Muslim (hi south America and India). Saying that doesn’t help. All it does is shut down the conversation and further the white vs brown narrative. Not helping.

    I look at it this way. There is a large proportion of conservative Muslims in the full population (who should be best friends with conservative Christians, logically…so much in common like hating on gay people amd evolution), out of which a smaller subset are Islamists – I.e. supporters of political Islam want a govt that’s based on the laws that are clearly laid down and asked for in Islamic scripture.

    Both of the above two categories have parallels in other religions, though the proportions might differ. What’s unfortunately unique about modern Islam is that there’s a further subset of jihadists who are willing use violence to achieve political Islam – and there are enough of them to cause problems. The why is a massive topic in and itself but something interesting note is that this didn’t exist 50 years ago – and my opinion is that this was manufactured, intentionally or otherwise.

    Ultimately, it is irrelevant right now because it was ultimately the ideology that pulled the trigger. And you don’t fight ideology with bombs and guns. You fight it by making the ideology socially unacceptable and forcing it to either disappear or only exist on extreme fringes, sort of how it’s now unacceptable to hate on the jews because they killed Christ or whatever (sadly having a resurgence. Thanks Trump). And this can only be done by Muslims in Muslim communities. And in this, the right doesn’t help because they scare all Muslims (and other brown people too) and just make it more likely that things are hushed. The left doesn’t help because they choose to mollycoddle people and pretend the problem doesn’t exist (I wonder what the court of popular opinion would choose given the choice of Conservative Muslims and gay people…). Obama did try to broach this *once* when he asked Muslim Americans to step up and police their own communities but nothing really came out of it. What is needed is large scale counter messaging focusing on the good cuddly bits, and offering up nice tidy metaphorical explanations for the rest – and this has to occur from the mouths of trusted community leaders and clerics. No one else can fix that. When Maajid Nawaz, Salman Rushdie, Asra Nomani and the rest speak about something along these lines, they get attacked by the left as “not real Muslims” and told to go away because they might hurt feelings. WTH? They aren’t conservative Muslims by any chance but that’s like calling liberal Christians “not real Christians” and asking them to go away because they might hurt the feelings of “real Christians”. Utterly inconsistent. You don’t have to listen to, or agree with everything they say, but they do offer insights and options on how to tackle the problem. Through the traditional liberal method free expression and critique.

    Ok, end rant. I’m just sick of seeing the same circle jerk every single time there’s a terrorist attack by an Islamic radical.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Whatever the motivation, without military grade assault weapons, and ammunition designed to inflict maximum damage on soft tissue, he wouldn’t have been able to kill nearly so many people.

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – Considering the act was essentially suicidal, the means of mass murder are substantially more diverse than strictly firearms. Explosives are already highly regulated nearly everywhere, but quite obviously play a substantial role in mass murders worldwide.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, there are different views on how the U.S. stacks up in suicides by firearm vs other industrialized nations. Admittedly, I haven’t spent a lot of time researching this, but found this report helpful.

      • Griffin says:

        And imagine how much worse it would be if they could walk into a store and buy C4. Explosive plots actually often fail in the US because the bombs often don’t go off… turns out it’s a lot harder to use an improvised weapon.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Fiftyohm – In this country terror attacks are generally carried out by firearms versus explosives. Why? Maybe it is the extreme ease in which to get military style weaponry.

        I respect the 2nd amendment but that does not mean that is is an unlimited right. Weapon purchases should be reported as well as ammunition. The federal authorities should have the ability to track those that are building large weapon cashes. Information on you buys what does not infringe on our rights and can actually make us a more free society that worries a little less about idiots with firearms.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Gentlemen – One doesn’t require C4. And remember Oklahoma City? 168 people dead.

      • 1mime says:

        A physician on the scene of the mass shooting said many of the victims bled out in less than four minutes due to the type of ammo.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – Last post BS. Just pure BS. I’ll bet my bottom dollar he was loaded with FMJ ammunition. (It’s the cheapest, and most available, and the “least lethal”, if any ammunition can be referred to as that when fired from a rifle at close range.). Just BS. Sorry. He’s sadly, though not atypically, misinformed.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, I’m gonna have to call Mrs. Ohm…..

      • fiftyohm says:

        *Oh-oh!*. 😉

        But really, wound ballistics are well beyond the scope of this blog. Let it suffice to say that most .223, (5.56×45 mm NATO), ammunition is military surplus, either SS109 or M855. These were designed to defeat armored personnel, and thus had to have certain penetration capabilities. This role is completely at odds with the infliction of maximal wound channels at close range in unarmored personnel. For that, you need *hunting rounds” you can buy at your local sporting goods store. OK?

      • Griffin says:

        No but C4 is more reliable. Yes 168 people were killed when a bomb attack finally succeeded because the terrorist got “lucky” the bomb went off. All the terrorists who wanted to blow people up but failed to make a succesful bomb DIDN’T kill anyone because they couldn’t go buy one and had to use a more unreliable method. How is this difficult to understand? Why are you being so obtuse about this? As we can see by regulating bombs only, say, 1 in 10 bombing attacks succeeded instead of 9/10. That is an improvement.

        Your entire stance seems predicated on the Nirvana Fallacy. Because not every single bombing attempt has been thrawted what’s the point of gun laws, even though more bombing attempts fail than not because they’re not easy to get access to?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Griffin – You clearly know little about explosives, and I’ll not be the one to educate you. You assume that most attempts at bombings are unsuccessful due to some sort of technical challenge. This is not true. Beyond that, I’m having great difficulty making sense of your post; which, and by the way, is most unusual. Perhaps we can pick this up tomorrow?

    • fiftyohm says:

      A right, and decidedly non-random post there, PR! The last time the truth wasn’t somewhere in the middle was, at least in modern times, never.

    • 1mime says:

      Pseudo, I think most here recognize that complicated issues are, well, complex. There are people who have violent behavior and those who don’t; those who are afraid of anyone of any “different” ethnicity other than Caucasian, and those who welcome diversity. There are good Christians and pseudo-religious – in all “religions”. Most gun owners are responsible; some are not. The common denominator appears that fear has been so deeply instilled in the American psyche that insecure people can no longer rationally separate truth from exploitation. Having noted this phenomena, the inability of American people to sort out truth from fiction is dangerous and plays into the hands of those who manipulate with fear and hyperbole. Drumpf is exploiting this because he has seen how well it has worked for those in the far right.

      Of course this is a time for mourning and shock. It also offers a time of recognition and possibility to come together. One of the positives from this tragedy has been the outpouring of compassion and support from people everywhere for the gay community. At a terrific price, but positive, never the less.

      • 1mime says:

        I listened last night to a clip from Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a gay member of Congress from NY state. I was impressed with what he said and how he said it but haven’t found a video clip. Here is is official press release regarding the mass shooting in Orlando. It speaks to many of the points made by various commentators as to what is an appropriate reaction following a tragedy like this.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        Everyone has a violence threshold mine. Violent ideologies let you reach(I must do said violent thing to please my God/save my religion/whatever) and justify it(God says so) easier and guns let you do more damage(guy with a knife wouldn’t be able to kill so many…or the US military would want to learn from him) once you pass it.

        Me, right now? I worry about reprisal attacks against random brown people. Sanity has mostly prevailed but there have been several isolated incidents of violence against Sikhs, Muslims, Mexicans, Brazilians and even a Spaniard(IIRC) over the years. I worry there’ll be more now.

        Because from my perspective, Trumpism is on the very border of violence. It doesn’t quite incite violence, but the hate that’s being spread and legitimized is dangerous. It’s almost like one of those damnable imams in the UK who basically preach the worst kind of ideology but stop just short of saying anything the govt can use…

        Maybe I’m exaggerating, but this incident hasn’t helped matters much – inspite of the beautiful local outpouring of support for a community that was ostracized for no good reason other than the disgust threshold not too long ago…

  17. Stephen says:

    Down here in Orlando people are not freaking out about Muslims. Or that the victims were not heterosexual. In fact the Muslim communities have come out strong in support of the victims. Yesterday me and the wife tried to give blood to help. The lines were enormous and we were turned away as they could not process any more blood in the region, running out of supplies to do that. Hard to believe just 60 years ago the area was a hotbed of home grown terrorism. That is what diversity will do in an open society like ours.

    Because of our nutty laws or lack of laws the likes of Mr. Mateen could buy military type weapons with large magazines. He had a record of wife beating and was on the FBI terrorist watch list. But due to our system could not be blocked from buying his murder weapons. If it was not for gerrymandering our congress could make some common sense changes. We must work on undoing that if we want to change our nutty gun laws.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Interesting post Stephen, please keep us updated as to the vibe on street there at ground level. The sense I’m getting (albeit from a further distance then you) is similar. I’m optimistic (but not TOO confident) that the anti Muslim backlash that Trump is trying to stir up so blatantly isn’t going to happen.

      In any case, as a fellow human being, I appreciate you taking the time to go donate blood. We’re all in this together.

    • Shiro17 says:

      I think the key is that there is no evidence (at least so far) that ISIS actually ordered or facilitated the attack. That is, they didn’t fund the purchase of his ammo, or order him to kill people. Instead, just like nearly all the shootings, it’s the case of a troubled young man, with clear issues long before this, who simply latched onto something that could provide him with attention, fame, purpose, etc.

  18. Rob Ambrose says:

    Trump actually started pretty strong. Paid appropriate respect to the victims and stated clearly they were targeted because of their sexual orientation. All in all, sounded totally unlike himself.

    Then: “the only reason the killer was in this country is because we allowed his Afghan father to come here”.

    He then says he will suspend immigration from all countries associated with terrorism.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Now he’s saying we have “hundreds of thousands of Muslims pouring into our country every year. This could be the worst, most deadly Trojan horse ever”.

      Jesus Christ.

      Yes Donald, that will totally help with the problem of America born, radicalized Muslims. Marginilizing them even more will certainly fix that issue.

      This guy is an existential threat to America.

      • 1mime says:

        Divide and conquer ?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Every demagogue needs an enemy Mime. And the more powerless the enemy, the better.

        Trump could care less about Muslims. They just happen to meet the criteria if being powerful enough to be a credible threat, but not powerful enough to be a political threat if they try to organize.

        It’s classic Trump. He attacked Curiel knowing he couldn’t respond. It’s classic bully tactics.

        That’s why it’s incumbent on those groups WITH power to speak up for those without, because they need the support right now.

      • 1mime says:

        “That’s why it’s incumbent on those groups WITH power to speak up for those without, because they need the support right now.”

        Consider this: IF the groups with power “had” spoken up against Drumpf earlier, he wouldn’t be the nominee. The same people within this power structure who blasted Drumpf earlier, endorsed him later. Why would they change their spots now?

  19. Rob Ambrose says:

    There is something extremely unsavoury about Smith & Wesson being up 8% today.

    Is it any wonder these scumbags fund NRA so much? It’s not just to ensure smooth delivery of their wares. It’s because they profit off of mass shootings.

    • Stephen says:

      The NRA used to be an education organization. Not so much any more. Have not been a member for years. This is a tale of caution. The gun manufactures used the respectability of the previous NRA to mask their addenda. Something that could be done again else where.This why all donations at least should be required to list who gave them. So we know when their message rolls who’s interest is being served.

      • I have no idea how this would be done. BUT it seems to me if enough thinking people joined the NRA and voted in a Board of Directors who were of moderate thinking, the result would be at least some controls on who can buy these assault weapons. Dues to the NRA are small. a few 100,000 new members would tilt the management of the NRA drastically! That would put pressure on the Republicans to change their position a gun on every hip!!

        Lifer, how about it. Want to start a movement??.

  20. flypusher says:

    The contested convention and NeverTrump, not quite dead yet!

    Still a long shot, but I do agree that if Trump keeps on doing what he does so well, it just may happen. Not without a great cost, but maybe this route does a bit less damage.

  21. unarmedandunafraid says:

    Off Topic – For some reason, this question came to mind. I know several commenters here have expertise to judge this study and tell me if it is done well. It is in “The Lancet”. Maybe some have full access to this study? Comments on the summary only would be welcome if not.

    It concerns “Firearm legislation and firearm mortality in the USA”

    • Kenneth Devaney says:

      I’m not an expert nor have I seen the study but one of our faculty Dr. Fagan did share with BioStat and Epi students the correlates and variables and I heard the study encountered the usual unique US gun numbers problem…laws vary by state and states surrounded by other states where laws are lax means guns travel. They stratified to isolate gun deaths by suicide or family arguments/violence to get a sense of how stricter laws effected those gun death numbers….once those get dumped in with all other gun deaths it gets murkier…one short answer is background check states seem to have fewer suicide/family violence deaths. I work and provide accounting support for a Bio-Med dept at CUMC…I have no inside info, just sharing the scuttle when this came up at lunch with grad students.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Unarmed – There is a potential problem I see in the analysis, though the body of the paper is behind the paywall.

      ” Projected federal-level implementation of universal background checks for firearm purchase could reduce national firearm mortality from 10·35 to 4·46 deaths per 100 000 people,” Unless there is substantial fleshing out of this projection, it is very, very unlikely to be remotely correct.

      Approximately two of three deaths by firearms in America are suicides. The US suicide rate is about in the middle of the pack of in the developed world. While it is true that firearms availability here is greater than the other countries of the developed world, our suicide rate is about the same. We can then conclude that most people kill themselves in other countries by other means, and the suicide rate is not really associated with firearms.

      The projection that the total US death rate by firearms would fall by nearly 60% would, by definition, reduce the US suicide rate to about the lowest in the developed world. This is so unlikely as to be laughable. (Unless, and as I said, there’s much more to the analysis than we can see in the abstract.)

      • Creigh says:

        Fifty, I don’t think preventing gun suicides is the point here (though as a DoD employee I had to take suicide prevention training every year). Preventing mass killing of other people with military grade weapons is the point.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Actually Creigh, I don’t think that was the point of the study. It addressed specifically “firearms deaths”. That was it’s flaw, so far as I can tell. To be of value in the discussion, the focus should be on homicides by firearm, a distinct minority of all firearms deaths. If we make the (very safe) assumption that suicides will not be much affected by firearms regulation, people will kill themselves by other means, as they apparently do in the rest of the developed world, and at the same rate. We’d likely see a spike in “exhaust deaths”, and an attendant call for electric cars or something! (Sarcasm off.). But seriously, dead is dead. That’s the point. No one here is suggesting gun control as a means of suicide prevention. (I hope.)

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Fifty – It looks like I’m going to pay for the PDF.

        I would like to quibble with your quibble. When you say, ” If we make the (very safe) assumption that suicides will not be much affected by firearms regulation..” You are wrong in that assumption. I don’t know if the study is off or by that much, but a simple comparison of suicide rate to gun ownership is eye opening. Funny thing is to look at Vermont. Since it has been in the news lately because of Bernie. (High rate of gun ownership and suicide, especially compared to other Northeast states.) It is not a one to one relationship but very strong.

        Alaska has the highest rate of suicides of the states. Interesting to compare it to Canada highest suicide region.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Unarmed – Here’s why I assert this: suicide is mostly accomplished in America by gun. While we have more guns than the rest of the developed world, we do not have a higher suicide rate, and in fact, substantially lower than in many countries where guns are practically unobtainable, and virtually never used for suicide. Is that clear, or am I being obtuse? Seriously, and no snark intended here…

      • 1mime says:

        What is the source for your claim on suicide rates, Fifty?

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Fifty –
        I understand what you are saying and I think it is just a problem with terms. Note it says, “national FIREARM mortality from 10·35 to 4·46”. So think of it this way, if there were no guns whatsoever, there would be zero “national firearm mortality”.

        I don’t think the article says anything more about suicides and their causes. The number of total suicides could remain the same, although I’ve seen studies that state that gun suicides are about 96% effective and non-gun suicides are much, much less lethal. In other words, those that survive sometimes go on to live long lives, which would reduce the rate.

        So, I haven’t read the study yet. But I will and I’ll report back.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Roger that, unarmed. I’m interested. But suicide “attempts” are not suicides, sorta by definition. I just think that total *deaths* is the only metric of concern to the discussion. How people kill themselves is, to my mind, not relevant.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Fifty

        When looking at suicides you need to think about the society –
        Suicide in Japan is “honorable” so it has 18/100,000
        Countries with religions that don’t permit suicide are lower
        Iran is 5/100,000

        The UK is 6/100,000
        The USA is 12/100,000 – and is actually just a wee bit more religious than the UK

        Part of that is guns – most people who attempt suicide and live don’t do it again
        guns are so efficient that using a gun for suicide means that you don’t get a second chance!

        Without the guns I would expect the USA to have a slightly lower suicide rate than the UK

      • fiftyohm says:

        Hey Duncan – There are other cultural differences as well, but I agree with you that the suicide rate could well go down absent firearms. This is obviously not a reason to get rid of them mind you.

        Have you any insight why the UK is so relatively low, and why you guys and the West Island are sort of in between?

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Fifty

        Yes the UK does look a bit low
        I suspect without the guns the USA would be even lower

        IMHO there are three factors
        Cold dark winters – the northerly countries have high rates
        And possibly wealth

        Culture/religion has a double whammy – suicide would be rarer and less likely to be identified as suicide

        So the USA with the same(ish) culture as the UK plus more religion plus not as far north should have a lower rate than the UK

    • 1mime says:

      I recall that Congress pulled funding for study of gun violence and prohibited the dept of HHR from gathering and analyzing related data. It seems that this is a valid area of study even if HHR isn’t considered an appropriate agency. Ideally, all agencies should have the authority to share data that would help ferret out solutions and identify areas of weakness related to deaths by violent means.

      A discussion on NPR by an expert on terrorism pointed out that America needs to completely change the way we pursue terrorists. He noted that the purpose of the FBI is to “catch” criminals, not prevent crime per se. With the advent of terrorism, he suggests there needs to be a greater emphasis on detection and prevention which our existing structure is neither organized to perform nor has the requisite resources – human or financial.

  22. Rob Ambrose says:

    Hillary just talked about banning assault weapons. Cue the right wing strategy of “FREAK THE F*** OUT!!!!”

    Be interesting to see how this goes.

  23. fiftyohm says:

    Friends – Please allow me to clarify my position on yesterday’s horrific crime, and my response to it.

    My first response was very early to RobA’s post. There was a decided dearth of information regarding what happened and the details surrounding the event. Many of those details are now somewhat more clear. That post suggested that an ideology was to blame. It was not clear whether homophobia of Islamism was to blame but, and as I detest both, I assumed I could state that without later being proven wrong. There was little else to say at that point.

    My second post was agreeing with a poster who opined that “politicizing” the event [by politicians] at that point was reprehensible. The term as I used it meant to take rhetorical advantage of something before the facts were in – and they clearly were not at that point. Anything said, pretty much by anyone, was rank speculation.

    Curiously, what followed was an attempted exchange regarding gun control, which I will address later. Obviously, there is a great divide in America on this issue. It is what we do here to take sides in debates. (I literally *cherish* it.) On the other hand, it was too early for the reasons stated. It was interesting that the very same ‘side’ that suggested so-called politicization was a bad thing, piled on the issue.

    In the light of the next day, here’s what we know: the attacker was a radical Islamist, he was investigated by the FBI at least two times, he was associated with a radical cleric recent freed from prison, he was a licensed security guard, and had been subject to background checks at least twice since his hire, he pledged allegiance to ISIS, and ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. (Now, we should all take that last one with a grain of salt, of course.)

    Exactly how background checks, licensing, and the other devices proposed for gun control could have addressed this event is beyond me. Exactly how local weapons availability reads on terrorism, foreign or domestic, in light of Boston or Paris, is beyond me. A considered response to this threat should be directed at causes, and not means.

    So what’s wrong with politicization then? Someone brought up that asshole association MADD as an example of the good that can be done. Really? Despite Draconian laws and ridiculous BAC limits promoted and successfully enacted by this self-serving group, *the percentage of traffic deaths caused by alcohol has remained virtually constant for decades*! Good works, eh?

    To close this windy post, radical Islamism is an existential threat to civilization. The distinction between radical and moderate is only a matter of degree – and that difference may be very, very small. More later.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Fifty, I don’t think you need to defend your integrity here. Sorry if I implied that, and when I say things like “gun nut” I’m not in any way referring to you or otherwise sane people who think guns are useful. It is those who fetishize them, who sexualize them that I’m referring too.

      That said, you say this:

      “Exactly how background checks, licensing, and the other devices proposed for gun control could have addressed this event is beyond me”

      I have two points, one is that in this particular case, one easy thing that could/should be done is to prevent those on terror watch lists from purchasing firearms. I can’t fathom how this could be controversial. We don’t allow felons to vote, but they can buy military grade assault weapons. That’s obscene.

      But most importantly, the issue is never been about “well, this precaution wouldn’t have stopped this” as evidence that it’s useless. Yes, of course in any particular case, some precautions won’t prevent this. Some criminals will still get guns.

      But by making it more difficult to get guns, overall, gun deaths will go down. Anybody who believes in empiricism cannot deny this. How else to explain why America has both a) the most guns by far in Western society and b) the most gun deaths by far.

      These are not unrelated statistics. Would stricter gun controls prevent THIS tragedy? Maybe. Maybe not. But they will prevent SOME future ones.

      Regarding his Islamic extremism, it’s starting g to look like he was just a nihilist or a psychopath or mentally ill or a bigot more then anything. The fact that he pledged allegiance to ISIS, AL Qaeda AND the Boston bombers (who aligned with AL Nusra) strongly suggests he wasn’t particularly ideogical.

      The three groups share Islam, and terrorism, and that’s about it. All three despise each other, all three have very different ideologies and all three have different goals.

      A “true believer” would never invoke all three.

      • flypusher says:

        The investigation into what motivated this dirtbag is ongoing, so nobody can definitely say yet who/what motivated him. But a lot of these mass shooters crave the attention, even if it is infamy, and even if it is posthumous. Invoking ISIS is a great way to get that attention. ISIS loves being linked to atrocities, regardless of whether they have much involvement. I’m not saying that’s what happened, only suggesting one possibility. But eventually it will be figured out.

        I think part of our problem is trying to hard to fit things into neat, discrete categories. Terrorism OR hate crime? Maybe you have both. Radical Islam or homophobia? Again, maybe you can’t separate the two. Religious fanatic or mentally ill? A gun issue or a self- radicalization issue? Get my drift? This stuff is complicated, and binary thinking limits your response.

        And 50, don’t worry. We’ve all had good productive discussions here, and I do understand where you’re coming from. I have no problems with you saying what you said. Some of the other forums I frequent went a bit nuts. This one maintains its good rep.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I do agree with your last point though.

      As an atheist and an amateur historian, I’m no huge fan of organized religion as a whole.

      But just like some of us reject the “both sides do it” arguments about how dysfunctional the federal government is right now, suggesting (rightly, I believe) the dysfunction is by design and majority caused by the GOP, there really can be no controversy to state that Islam is orders of magnitude more violent and dangerous then Christianity right now.

      I view this as more cultural then anything (in many ways, Islam is no different then Christianity other then it’s maybe 500 years behind. Christianity went through its overtly murdereous phase centuries ago). But radical Islamism is a real threat. I dont think it’s the existential threat the GOP wants to mkae it. But it’s a threat nonetheless

    • texan5142 says:

      When does the madness stop. For fuck sake, they outlawed lawn darts after people got killed.

      Old joke, Did you hear about the guy who got shot four times accidentally with a musket loader.

      “Due in part to Snow’s lobbying, on December 19, 1988, the CPSC reinstated the outright ban on lawn darts in the USA.[2] In the previous eight years, 6,100 people had been sent to the emergency room due to lawn darts in the USA. Out of that total, 81% were 15 or younger, and half of them were 10 or younger. On the week the commission voted to ban the product, an 11-year-old girl in Tennessee was hit by a lawn dart and sent into a coma.[1]”

    • 1mime says:

      Fifty, I was the “someone” who brought up MADD. This organization was a grassroots response to the horrific problems caused by drunk driving and the refusal of law enforcement and the courts to remove habitual offenders from the roads.

      As time went by there were many changes that sprang from the influence of the organization. Not all were helpful but absent “any” control or responsiveness to this huge problem, much good wad done. Reasonable closing hours for bars, more consistent sentencing, pre-sentence evaluations which referred many with problems for professional help, reduction of injuries and deaths, and, finally, education that drinking and driving is dangerous.

      As rob stated so beautifully earlier, don’t let perfection become the enemy of better.

      From my perspective, MADD contributed in a positive manner. It was not a perfect effort but it tried to do good, and in my view, did so.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – As a point of statistical fact, MADD did exactly jack squat. I really don’t give a R’s A what their original intentions were. They failed because they reacted to the wrong problem.

        Alcoholism is the problem – not alcohol. Virtually all road deaths caused by drunk drivers are associated with BACs *many times* the legal limit. Lowering the limit to 0.08 was a complete waste of time and resources.

        It’s exactly like the other topic. The problem is not Islam – it’s Islamism. There’s another issue that there is no such thing as “moderate social consumption” of Islam, but that’s a topic for another day!

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, we agree that excessive alcohol is causative, but not all alcohol impaired drivers are alcoholics. It is fortunate for all who are ticketed whether alcoholics or simply had one too many at the party, if they don’t hurt themselves or others in the process of DUI. We agree that .08 is a low BAC, but I know you are aware that individual tolerance levels vary due to weight and metabolism. I do not accept or agree with your blanket dismissal of the MADD organization’s contributions, but I always respect your right to your own opinions.

        Here’s a question on this subject, since we’re so far afield: what do you think should be done about those who are driving while intoxicated?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Serious penalties, and a rational standard for “intoxication”, m’dear.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi fifty
        – MADD did squat???

        A quick look at the figures shows a drop of drunk driving deaths from 21,000 down to 10,000
        (In 30 years)
        Despite a higher population and more miles driven

        You ain’t there yet – but that is NOT squat

      • fiftyohm says:

        Duncan – The only valid statistical metric is the percentage of total road deaths caused by alcohol. That has not changed.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Fifty
        From the MADD record and wikipedia
        1982 – 44,000 deaths – 21,000 DUI – 47%
        2012 – 33,000 deaths – 10,000 DUI – 30%

        OK it took 30 years but the drop from 47% to 30% is quite signifigant

      • fiftyohm says:

        MADD’s website? Really Duncan. Look at If it’s not confirmation bias you’re after. And according to the DOT the number in 2010 was north of 40% and had remained constant for 10 years. This must be considered in the light of exactly what “alcohol related” means. Another foolish standard, and moving target.

      • 1mime says:

        Since I brought this up, I’d like to point out this statement from your link:

        “drunk driving awareness and enforcement efforts such as Zero Tolerance Laws may be having a positive impact. The percentage of alcohol-related fatalities decreased from 50.6 percent in 1990 to 42 percent in 2009. And all 50 States, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, now have a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration limit for determining if drivers are driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), up from just 2 in 1990.3 Among major crimes, driving under the influence has one of the highest arrest rates with more than 1.4 million DUI arrests in 2010”

        In response to my question to you about what you would do to impact the problem of alcohol-related deaths you stated: “Serious penalties, and a rational standard for “intoxication”. I totally agree with the general statement. But, I’m curious. What constitutes a rational standard for intoxication in your opinion?

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Fifty – so according to that site there was not much improvement from 2001 – 2010

        How does that disprove a substantial improvement from 1982 to 2012??

        This site –

        “In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities).11”

        Which is a damn site closer to the MADD numbers than your other site

        I suspect the difference is that the site you referenced had all alcohol but the MADD site was only using the “over the limit” numbers
        Which also blows away the idea that the limit is set too low and only the very drunk are a problem

      • 1mime says:

        And this report by NIH on alcohol related traffic deaths:

        It is fair to acknowledge that the efforts to reduce traffic deaths resulting from DUI are multi-faceted. They involve many different approaches and organizations. Sobriety check points are effective as are the ignition lock device that incorporates a breathalyzer function. Education is huge as is creating a cooperative attitude from the general public about not drinking and driving. Credit who you wish – but the paradigm shift began with MADD. As with so many societal problems, it takes time, effort, and education. Let’s share credit for any positive changes in this problem, which I still maintain would include the work of MADD.

  24. Rob Ambrose says:

    Trump I guess felt he wasn’t divisive enough by suggesting the President might be “in on it” a pretty clear dog whistle to his supporters that think Obama is a Marxist Kenyan Muslim.

    But now he wants you to know there are “many” terrorists in America , and “The Muslims ” all know who they are and are protecting them.

    What a total PoS. He doesn’t actually believe this, but what he wants to do is convince non muslim Americans that they need to view all Muslim Americans with suspicion and fear, and by using that feeling to his political advantage.

    The man is a menace.

  25. unarmedandunafraid says:

    50 people died. How very sad.

    Discussing how they died would be political. Especially with thoughts about prevention. Who died has some political ramifications. I think discussing why they died would be political also. Where they died would definitely be political. So we are left with the above.

    Not sure how long to leave the political stuff alone, what is the acceptable time to wait? Maybe three days?

    Maybe i don’t understand what makes a topic “political”. Maybe Lifer or someone here can help me.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Unarmed, a topic is “political” when the person who doesn’t want to talk about it (often for political reasons) deems it so.

      The GOP is the worst for this tactic , but it happens on the left too.

      It’s a great way to shut something down that you want shut down.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Personally, I prefer to limit chattering about it, to say as little as possible about it, because to throw the subject all over the place is disrespectful to the victims and cheapens what happened. We put way too much out there these days, for personal or political posturing, habitual outrage, because we can’t keep our mouths shut or our fingers still.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I am not in favor of saying NOTHING at all. Of course it needs to be addressed, and we should express sadness and condolences. I just think the constant back and forth is disrespectful to the victims and their families.

      • objv says:

        Tut, you always express yourself so well. I agree that the immediate chatter cheapens what happened. Plus, trying to steer the discussion to make points puts the emphasis on the killer or specific political agendas and not on the victims.

        Mass murderers WANT the attention to be on themselves or their cause. Terrorists want to cause disruption and fear.

        I feel we can do our part by honoring the victims and mourning with the families – at least until all the information comes out.

        Today, is a good day to start assessing the facts. Let’s begin the discussion while keeping in mind the lives and families that have been shattered.

      • Creigh says:

        We didn’t consider it politicizing to talk about causes and prevention of DWI after a particularly murderous highway accident. I don’t see the difference here.

    • vikinghou says:

      I respect your view, Tut, but I’ll bet the surviving victims are thinking real hard about these issues.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        If I were killed yesterday, I would want everyone back here talking about gun control as much as possible. I would consider it disrespecting my memory to NOT talk about it.

        When someone dies of cancer, do we say “let’s not talk about it and stop politicizing cancer”? Or do we say ” let’s do everything we can to eradicate this terrible disease”.

        The absurdly easy access to weapons designed to do nothing but main human flesh is a terrible disease. You can’t even HUNT with this ammo and weaponry because it is far too powerful. It mangles the meat too much. It’s far too much overkill for “home protection”.

        So why do we even sell it?

        It’s funny, I used to be an infantry soldier from 2002-2008 in my native Canada, and one of the Geneva convention rules we had to learn (yes, we did classroom studies if what is and isn’t against the rules of war) was that it is illegal to modify your ammunition in order to make it more deadly (such as filing diwn the nise if the round to make it more traumatic ti tissue) Militaries use full metal jacketed rounds, which pass through the body without mushrooming and causing catistophic damage. There are no legal soft, mushrooming rounds in military use.

        So not even the MILITARY figting enemy armies can legally use the kinds of rounds you can purchase at Wal Mart, and which has no purpose other then to cause maximum traumatic injury to soft tissue and bone.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Thanks, Viking. The way I see it, grief and loss, no matter how political, is still mostly personal.

        In any case, where to start? Is this about gun rights? Homophobia? Muslims? Mental illness? All of the above? None of the above? Just more red meat to feed the chattering classes, something to bicker over or post about to pass the time.

        All I care to know right now is that 50 people lost their lives, and their families are grieving, on a very personal level.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Interesting. I was just about to post that if my loved one were killed yesterday, that last thing I would care to see is a bunch of strangers arguing about my personal pain.

        I guess we will continue to disagree about that.

      • Based on polls i have seen in the past, people overwhelmingly want some sensible restrictions on guns. BUT obviously those people do not vote or do not vote that way. McConnell will say “Obama is coming to take away your guns!” and people in his state re-elect him. The ignorance of the American public is staggering! Even today i heard Trumpy say if people in that club had guns strapped to the hips, all this would have been different. Can anyone imagine everyone armed, shooting at each other, not knowing who the bad guy(s) is?

        My conclusion is we have a society of ill-informed, intellectually not curious, easily led people living in this country. i do not see that changing. Ted Nugent in on the NRA Board of Directors and obviously that is just okey dokey with NRA members.

        I always wondered how prohibition was put into law. If you have seen Ken Burns’s documentary on prohibition, it was a small % of the population, dedicated to stopping liquor sales, that banded together and got the politicians to ban liquor. what we have here is the reverse with guns!

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        We will indeed. If I felt my death was (at least in some way) contributed to by a specific political issue (or at least, facilitated by a specific policy, such as easy access to military grade weaponry) I would want ppl to talk about it.

        One thing I definitely agree with you though is that this tragedy is sort of a Rorschach test of sorts. People are going to read into it those that confirm their existing opinions (me included).

        For some, this is about hate crimes, for others it’s about gun control, others its about religion (such as Islamic fundamentalists)

        I think it incorporates elements of all.

        Frankly, pretty much any terrorist act is intractably interlinked with religion and politics, whether it’s the Christian terrorists such as the PP shooter, or the Muslim terrorists shooting up Pulse nightclub.

        In fact, the one common thread between ALL terrorist acts is a particular interpretation of religion.

        But it’s the atheists that are “immoral” :/

    • vikinghou says:

      Incidentally, I watched the Tony Awards last night. They presented a fitting tribute to the victims at the very beginning, dedicating the ceremony to their memory. During the segment showing a number from the show “Hamilton,” the cast elected not to carry the muskets that are an important aspect of the choreography.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Well, here I go. An article about politicization of tragedies.

    • easyfortytwo says:

      My reaction as a gay person: If you had no aversion to politicizing our lives, why so squeamish about politicizing our deaths?

  26. Rob Ambrose says:

    Just when you think Trump can’t get any lower, he goes ahead and surprises you. He’s pretty clearly suggesting not only is Obama incompetent, he might actually be in on it. For real.

    Now would be a great time for GOP leaders to show even a modicum of self awareness forbhiw they got into this whole Trumpnfiasco in the first place: by not calling out divisive, hateful bullshit like this, and even worse for stoking it.

    I think Trump is miscalculating here. Obama is a pretty popular president at this point. It may backfire.

  27. Rob Ambrose says:

    Fifty, regarding our discussion yesterday. I know that you are a good person and that you mean when you say you don’t want to “politicize” the tragedy.

    In America though, there is a long standing tradition for politicians who don’t want to actually discuss something (ever) to use the “let’s not politicize” meme as a way to shirk accountability and responsibility.

    This article shows examples of Big Booze criticized those who spoke out against drunk driving deaths as “piliticizng” the tragedies. How people criticized AIDS activists in the 80’s of “politicizing” it. How the government responded to extremely damning data in the 90’s about homelessness, claiming it “politicized” poverty.

    So you see, although I believe you genuinely feel it is inappropriate to discuss gun control now, to many of us, it just sounds like more of the same misdirection and avoidance. It’s not that these ppl don’t want to “not politicize” the tragedy, it’s that they don’t ever want to discuss it at all (beyond the mealy mouthed “thoughts and prayers”).

    And frankly, some things deserve to BE “politicized”, especially if they are primarily a political/policy problem. If they are, it will take a political/policy solution.

    In other words, to start to fix the problem, we must – by definition – “politicize” it.

    • 1mime says:

      As a tag to your thoughtful comment, Rob, might I point out “Mothers Against Drunk Driving” as an example of a grassroots organization that responded with righteous indignation to a problem that had been ignored forever. They may not have been perfect in their application, nor solved the problem, but they certainly have taken the issue of driving under the influence out from the shadows and brought if full bore into public attention. I might add, their efforts, nascent though they were, have brought about many improvements in more consistent, fairer adjudication and evaluation of those who have addictions.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Indeed Mine. Obviously MADD didn’t eradicate drunk driving. While that’s the goal, in theory, nobody thinks it’s actually possible.

        They have though, undoubtedly, had a huge impact and saved many many thousands of lives. Who knows? Maybe someone here is alive today because some MADD campaign prevented a drunk driver from slamming into them.

        That’s the issue with the gun nuts who say “laws wouldn’t have stopped this crime!!” Or “they’re going to get the guns anyways!!”

        Of course gun deaths will always happen. But in these things, even tiny changes can be huge, especially if you or someone you loved was the one who would have died.

        We can’t let “perfect” be the enemy of “better”

  28. I got up this morning and started to watch Morning Joe, just to see what they said about the shooting. But i hit the wrong box on my Ipad and got Fox news. And, they had on Trumpy! Phoned in of course! And he was railing against Hillary, bragging about how he is for a Muslim ban, bragging about how he, Trumpy, was right about Muslims. Not once did he question how this guy, who was being watched by the FBI, could get an AK-47. Or, why the hell someone needs an AK-47 in the first place!

    And the moderators were falling over ever word Trumpy said, helping him articulate his views!

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      He’s got that big anti Hillary speech today. I think it’s going t o backfire unless he tones it down.

      I feel like nobody wants to hear generalized political attacks forna few days. If he talks mostly about what happened yesterday, that’s one thing. But if he briefly touches on it while spending the majority of his time talking about Bills scandals or the Clinton Foundation, it’s going to sound very tacky and time deaf.

      Plus, hea never had a lot of finesse. There’s a lot of emotions and alot of nuance to how ppl are feeling about yesterday. There’s not much wiggle room if you give a major speech today, and if ibwere his campaign I’d be pushing very hard to get him to reschedule.

      • formdib says:

        “I’d be pushing very hard to get him to reschedule.”

        Yeah, he makes his own schedule.

        Of course.

      • 1mime says:

        “if I were him I’d reschedule”…..then he would be following the lead of Clinton and Obama….can’t do that, can he?

        I suspect Drumpf’s handlers will rein him in in an effort to make him look “presidential”.

    • flypusher says:

      Did anyone tell the short fingered vulgarian that the shooter was a native born American? Is he going to deport citizens too? Right about the Muslims? What’s the ratio of Muslims who are good citizens to those who go terrorist? I hear the guy they suspect wanted to do violence at the LA pride parade was a White guy from Indiana. What’s the good citizen to terrorist ratio in that group? The point is profiling is not the panacea that bigots like Trump think it is. One scumbag shooting innocent people doesn’t make this clown “right about the Muslims”.

      I hope he goes way off the Teleprompter with this speech. Let him really stick both his feet far down in his mouth. His brain dead base won’t care, but it will further shame the GOP sell outs who caved and endorsed him. Let them squirm some more.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “I hear the guy they suspect wanted to do violence at the LA pride parade was a White guy from Indiana. ”

        The two are not even remotely similar Fly. The LA guy, clearly, was just a mentally ill lone wolf. Did you see his eyes? (And the color of his skin?) That’s all the proof you need to deduce this was mentally illness.

        But in Florida? That was just more indisputable evidence that there are 1.6 billion Moozlums coming to KILL US ALL RIGHT NOW!!!!!1!

      • 1mime says:

        I hope you and Rob will give us the edited version. I won’t be watching Drumpf.

  29. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    Old article, but I’m going to leave it here, as an explanation for any people wondering why someone like myself (and maybe lifer too) isn’t a straight up Democrat

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Pseudo – I’m curious. What do you imagine a straight up Democrat would think about that article?

    • Tom D says:

      It’s an interesting article, but it’s a critique of the current conservative movement from (what the author considers to be) a proper conservative perspective. I didn’t notice anything in it that would explain why a reasonable person would choose not to be a member of the Democratic Party.

      Probably, if one wanted to offer such an explanation, it would be helpful to identify some policies or values that the Democrats stand for that one disagrees with.

      Unarmed: as a straight-up Dem myself, I thought it was a good, thoughtful article that accurately identified a problem with conservatism today. I didn’t find much, if anything, to disagree with. I imagine I would have some disagreements with the author, but those disagreements are beyond the scope of the article.

      Anyway, this sub-thread is already buried beneath a flood of timely comments on yesterday’s terrible mass shooting, but I feel like this is a worthwhile topic for future discussion.

  30. formdib says:

    “It is a common paradox: the world often becomes aware of corruption when someone is doing something about it. That leads people to conclude that things are getting worse when they are, in fact, getting better. The incentives for countries can thus be perverse.”

    I’ve lived outside of the United States, and from the outside, this place can sometimes seem really silly in just how upset people get about stuff versus the advantages, freedoms, general security and comforts of life they have.

    Being back in the US, I’ve tried to stave off getting stressed out, but as my previous posts here have revealed, I still let it get to me.

    This article resonated with me because it points again to my favorite quote by Clare Malone of FiveThirtyEight: “Americans are very pro-conspiracy theory.” And paradoxically, it may be because we’re exacting and relentless corruption hawks.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Nice find. BTW, hopefully you stick around.

      I disagreed with a lot of what you posted about the other day, re: SJW’s (I just don’t think they’re nearly as relevant as you think they are) but you made your point well, and it was an interesting discussion. Food for thought.

      • 1mime says:

        I’ll second that, Formdib. Keep the thoughtful commentary coming. You and many other new and infrequent contributors add a great deal to the discussion.

      • formdib says:

        I’m around. The reason I joined this message board is simply because I normally don’t talk politics with anybody, but so much is going on in my head I have to spill it out somewhere. So far this message board seems polite and with a respectable range of opinion.

    • 1mime says:

      “exacting, relentless corruption hawks”……Always conveniently, Formdib. Take a gander at GA…right now. Soft corruption (abusing power without actually illegality, Gov. Jindal and Brownback are recent examples of governors whose inept, highly partisan leadership have resulted in great cost to the states and their citizens. This is a problem that crosses party lines…something about “power”…

  31. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Director Ken Burns offers what, IMHO, is the most eloquently spoken and intellectually blistering take down of Donald Trump; but more importantly, a call to action to all Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, to reclaim a collective pride and duty in our government and its power to do good. You owe it to yourself to watch.

    His address starts at about 1:14:00.

    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

      Although I don’t disagree with Burns’ comments, I’m not sure a commencement speech is the right place.

      I did my graduate work in Texas, and although I didn’t attend the commencements, I have a hunch that someone with a blistering take down of a candidate at a commencement address in Texas would have been talking about the candidate I favor.

      At least some in the audience are Trump supporters, and the commencement was as much theirs as it was a liberal. They get to remember their commencement address as this old guy bashing the person they are going to vote for (if they remember it at all).

      Just seems tacky.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Chalk that up against the unprecedented threat that Trump poses not just to the Republic, but potentially to the world and I think most students would be willing to suck it up. Just sayin’

      • 1mime says:

        I’ll go further, Ryan, and stipulate that most students would agree with Burns. (Not so certain about the parents in the audience.)

        However, Homer makes a valid point. Commencement addresses should be about bigger ideas. Burns is so outstanding in his field that it’s easy to give him a pass on this. He was likely motivated by his great love for our country, its traditions, and the environment….which are pretty decent motivations in my book – just tone down the political rhetoric even if I agree.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        …and on Fox I can find 18 people telling me that Hillary is an fundamental threat to the existence of the US.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        With all due respect, Homer (and with reservation given to the possibility that you were simply being sarcastic, though it didn’t feel like it), if you have to resort to the Republican news outlet that is Fox News, that proves my point better than I ever could. Trump is an honest, genuine threat to both people and country.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Ryan – not being sarcastic.

        There are plenty of people who firmly believe Hillary will be the downfall of the country. Of course, they felt it about Obama too, but they would just chalk it up to taking a longer time and Hillary will finally push it over the edge.

        These people are generally morons, but enough of them give commencement addresses. Dick Cheney comes to mind.

        You are an invited speaker to an audience, and the audience, as a whole, probably should be considered.

        When you invite Obama or Cheney to do your commencement, you have to recognize it is a political event as much as a graduation, but I don’t think the people inviting Ken Burns thought they would be getting an anti-Trump sermon.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @1mime: Not to wade too much into the cynical, but generally commencement addresses speak about vague platitudes, the future, etc, etc. It’s a nice ceremony, surely enough, but are they rarely ever so controversial or engaging that they’re worth remembering five, ten years down the line? My own address was so placid and wooden that I can’t even remember a single word that was spoken. In other words, it was a failure. Period, full stop.

        Those kids, and my generation as a whole in particular, are stepping into a world of monumental challenges the likes of which has never been faced before. Trump is a manifestation of so many things that are wrong in this country and, at the same time, a hearkening back to an age where white men reigned culturally and economically supreme, where women and minorities were oppressed and denigrated, and where the promise of equal rights and a chance for all to succeed so long as they worked hard was a broken promise for far too many.

        Bigger ideas? What, exactly, are these ideas you’re talking about? What could be bigger than facing the political issues that will decide this country’s future for a generation to come? Frankly, I think it fitting that a commencement address should echo like a clarion call to action to such a promising group of students, because the time is now and the world isn’t going to wait around for us to be ready to face it.

        There’s not a more important issue I can think of that should’ve been talked about, and with all respect, if you can think of one, then I’d love to know what it is.

        @Homer: Graduation, particularly for college students, is a time of recognition and acknowledgement for moving into the real world; cruel, unforgiving and full of promise, as we all know it. What more can one talk about in a commencement address than the issues facing that world? Trump and the state of our politics are the most pressing issues with the most far-reaching consequences of anything I can think of.

      • 1mime says:

        I also believe that commencement addresses are meant to inspire. Here are a few “issues/topics” that I would find worthy:

        *how the digital/information age will transform the future
        *how science/research will transform health care/lives/career opportunities
        *how globalization is changing our workplace and our environment (broadly speaking)

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        Ryan – I’m not sure how old you are but…

        “Those kids, and my generation as a whole in particular, are stepping into a world of monumental challenges the likes of which has never been faced before.”

        Yeah, let’s tell that to the folks graduating high school in 1940 as they prepared to ship off to Europe and Asia to fight a truly World War.

        You could mention these monumental challenges to the folks in the 60s who if they did not get an all expenses paid trip to Vietnam, were living in a country that was coming apart at the seams.

        My grandma was 20 years old in 1931, I’m sure the depression might have been considered a monumental challenge for her generation.

        You lament that there are people today “hearkening back to an age where white men reigned culturally and economically supreme, where women and minorities were oppressed and denigrated”, and I might posit that those women and minorities living in that age faced some monumental challenges that might make Donald Trump seem like a toothache.

        I graduated high school in the 80s, and it would be difficult to find a more coddled age-cohort than my own. We generally were too young to remember Vietnam or Nixon, we had no real war to speak of that didn’t look like a video game, and we were ushered into adulthood with the roaring 90s.

        While young folks today probably do not have it as sweet as we had it in the 80s, I’m not sure many would want to exchange their challenges for those faced in the 30s, 40s, and 60s.

        It is true that your challenges are the “likes of which have never been faced before” mostly because of a more global economy and a highly dynamic and interconnected world.

        The Republic will survive Trump.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Homer: Comforting though your assurance in our continued survival is, I still wouldn’t trade that address for some boring, wooden speech that no one would remember in a few days, let alone a few years. Where’s the fun in that? Bring on the controversy and conflict, so long as it’s grounded in real world ideas and issues.

        Furthermore, the threat that Trump poses is hardly limited to the Orange Wonder himself. He threatens the basic structure of our system of governance and all that that entails. THAT is something we have never faced before in American history. What we have to decide now is not merely to survive, but to reclaim and reform a system of governance that determines how America will function now and far into the future.

        If a few students or parents get fussy over a clarion call to action in that respect, I can’t say I’m much inclined to give a damn. Anything else by comparison, IMHO, would be dreadfully boring and hardly worth the attention span, if any at all.

      • 1mime says:

        Ryan, Fly has shared a little from the commencement exercises she has attended at Rice where eminent speakers were keynote. The ones I would have loved hearing were: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Colin Powell, Morris Dees, James Baker, III. I don’t know what their topics were but the opportunity to hear from people of this stature would be memorable.

  32. 1mime says:

    Some thoughts on drumpf as Commander in Chief.

    Washington And The World
    What Exactly Would It Mean to Have Trump’s Finger on the Nuclear Button?

    A nuclear launch expert plays out the various scenarios.

  33. flypusher says:

    So we are all reeling from the worst mass shooting in our history (or at least those with decency), and what matters most to GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump? That some people are giving him “congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism”:

    Congrats from me too Donald. I really didn’t think you could disgust me anymore than you already have, but I should have known that you would sink to such a challenge. If you are not the absolute worst person in this country, you make the top 3. Please fellow Americans, do not allow this narcissistic bag of toxic crap to be the leader of the free world. He is an embarrassment. I’m ashamed that he’s in the same galaxy.

    • rightonrush says:

      I’m with you Fly. As a family we will do whatever we can humanly do to keep the narcissistic bag of crap outta the WH.

    • 1mime says:

      Has anyone heard remarks on the Orlando shooting from political leadership other than Drumpf, Clinton and the President? The NRA? House Speaker? Senate President?

  34. antimule says:

    I would love more stories about UBI. Do you really think we are coming to a kind of post-work era (for most people, that is) or is it just hype?

    • Creigh says:

      What we now consider “work” is being replaced by automation and computers. This is an existential threat to capitalism as we know it. An ex-CEO of Macdonalds stated that if the minimum wage is raised to $15, workers would be replaced by automation. I wanted to ask him how many hamburgers did he think these robots would buy. Clearly, we need a new definition of work, and a new way of valuing and paying for that work.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I think we are eventually. It’s also going to happen very, very slowly and will probably take about 50-100 years before it is “here” completely.

  35. Bobo Amerigo says:

    So what exactly ARE our political parties?

    Is there a generic term for them other than clubs that establish their own rules?

    Is there a set of governing definitions like there is for non-profits (401K, etc.) and corporations?

    If they were differently regulated would regulators be able to limit the size of individual donations? Would Rump still be the R’s candidate and Hillary the Democratic candidate?

    I suspect many first-time Bernie voters think parties are governmental entities; hence, their emphasis of the unfairness of super delegates because there may be legal solutions that address fairness.

    This paper says the nature of our political baffles many judges, too. It also says law regarding political parties comes out of legal concerns about ‘patronage, ballot access, voting rights, racial and political gerrymandering, and campaign finance’. None of those topics include choice of candidate.

    Click to access per_cain.pdf

    As I don’t have cable I have not seen the shows mentioned.

    • Creigh says:

      There are ways to get on the ballot for President, or any other office, in any given state. These requirements are specified under state law. The Republican and Democratic parties have to follow those laws to be on the ballot on election day. Anyone else who follows the laws will also be on the ballot on election day. So yes, Rs and Ds are pretty much like private organizations/clubs from the POV of the Secretary of State, or whoever runs the election in each state.

    • Creigh says:

      Also, I can’t speak for other Bernie supporters, but for me the issue is not fairness of the delegate selection process but the fact that the real election is open to everyone, not just registered Democrats. Because independent non-party-members are more and more important in the actual election, restricting the selection of a nominee to party members seems likely, sooner or later, to result in picking someone completely inappropriate for the general election (hello, Donald Trump!). This should concern party insiders, but they seem more interested in hanging on to their prerogatives. Again, in all fairness, parties have the right to pick their own candidate, but disasters like Trump are completely foreseeable under this system.

      • Fair Economist says:

        The problem with allowing outsiders to participate in choosing a party’s candidate is that many of them want to choose a *bad* candidate. Bernie Sanders’ win in WV was driven by people who said (in exit polls) they’d rather vote for Trump than him. Based on the exits, of people who actually wanted their candidate to win the general as well, *Hillary* won WV. This was also probably true in Michigan. There were certainly Democrats voting for Trump too, although he’s so bad there was probably some honest opposition too.

        It’s not onerous at all to require people who want to vote in a primary register with that party. It’s easy to change registration in any state in the country, and it’s low and reasonable bar for somebody who wants to participate in picking a party’s nominee.

  36. Rob Ambrose says:

    Jesus Christ. 50 dead so far. Worst mass shooting in American history.

    Only one shooter. American born. Islamic.

    I honestly don’t know how this is going to change things, but it undoubtedly will.

    Terrible day.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Second-hand information from the father says that the shooter, Omar Mateen, was infuriated when he saw two men kissing a few months earlier. Don’t know anything more or definitive for right now. Horrific beyond words.

      • 1mime says:

        Police reporting shooter US born, 30 years old, weapon AR 15. No confirmation yet of multi- round clips. Club a popular gay venue.

      • 1mime says:

        Confirmed shooter did have multi round clips which, of course, explains how one man could kill and injure over 100 persons. FL has no prohibition on the sale of such clips. Shooter said to have license for gun. I hope there is renewed discussion about removing assault weapons and high round clips from legal sales. I keep thinking – maybe this horrific event will move sensible change in our gun laws. Now this. What is next?

      • fiftyohm says:

        mime – *All* “clips” [sic] are “multi-round”.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Looks like they just arrested someone with guns and explosives at the LA price parade.

    • fiftyohm says:

      RobA – I wish I could imagine how this will change anything, but I can’t . There are ideologies that are quite simply incompatible with what we consider civilization. They are widespread, and not rare.

      Our thoughts are with all of the victims and families.

      • 1mime says:

        Do we know that this was an act of terrorism?

      • fiftyohm says:

        At this point, we do not.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Check that. If, as we have some evidence to believe, this was an act associated with hatred of gay people, then yes, you can consider it terrorism.

      • texan5142 says:

        It is all terrorism, from mass shootings at church, to killing abortion doctors. The Muslim community in the USA has already experienced an increase in hate crimes. My fear at this point is retaliation by a bunch of amosexuals based on guilt by association. This has the potential to unravel very quickly. Fox/hate news started blaming Obama while bodies were still being counted.

      • texan5142 says:

        Ammosexuals, sorry.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I don’t necessarily mean change things for the better. It might very well be for the worse, specifically in makibg ppl more susceptible to, say, Donald Trump

      • flypusher says:

        “Fox/hate news started blaming Obama while bodies were still being counted.”

        I’m a glutton for punishment- what rational was it this time?

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – Gotcha – I understand.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Fifty, with that said though, I’m gonna make an off prediction that some actual change is going to come of this. I don’t know why this particular one would force change when nothing else has, just call it a gut.

        Nothing as major as an assault weapons ban of course. I could see something regarding certain types of ammo/clips, however.

        I think the fac that one person could kill so many so quick is going to shock a lot of people. No reasonable person could suggest that ammo specifically designed to wreak havoc on bone and tissue is what the 2A is all about.

        Also, the fact that the mass shooters are starting to end up being homegrown Muslims I think will finally loosen up resistence to even the most basic gun laws that we’ve seen.

        Just like I think if inner city blacks started open carrying assault weapons that would loosen up some of the knee jerk obstinance. “Whoa whoa whoa….we meant only the ‘right kind’ of ppl have an inalienable right to unlimited weaponry. Not the coloreds”

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – Another time, my friend…

    • 1mime says:

      You know how sad this is? I read about this much earlier and didn’t post because it was just “another” mass shooting. (The number confirmed as dead at that time was “only” 20. 50 is unimaginable. These people were slaughtered. Supposedly, lone shooter with 1 rifle 1 handgun and a “device” of some kind. How could 1 person commit this much carnage?

    • flypusher says:

      Obviously not all the facts are in, but this looks like a home grown hate crime.

      • 1mime says:

        ABC just quoted shooters ex-wife who said he beat her throughout their marriage and he was violent. Surely this was reported to police which should have disqualified him from legally acquiring guns.

      • Fair Economist says:

        I’ve seen (unverified) claims he had no criminal record. So perhaps she didn’t report it.

      • 1mime says:

        Good point and unfortunate, as it turns out….

    • 1mime says:

      It will bear watching as to how our respective presidential candidates respond to this atrocity.

      • flypusher says:

        The Trumpkins could give us some very bizarre mental gymnastics. On one hand, it’s a mooselimb turrist shooting up the place! On the other hand he killed some of those queer people who are trying to take our country away! I’m expecting to need a lot of brain bleach for this one.

      • 1mime says:

        Listened to Chuck Todd with NBC who said he was appalled at the comments of some of our elected officials. He was visibly distressed over the irresponsibility and crassness of the remarks. Taking advantage of a tragedy to promote ones personal agenda is reprehensible. Shocking.

      • flypusher says:

        Which ones 1mime? Didn’t have the TV on.

        (But I can probably guess who.)

      • fiftyohm says:

        FWW – Only Bernie seemed to do so on the CNN feed.

      • 1mime says:

        Todd didn’t offer names but he kept repeating how shocked he was that these elected officials would stoop so low. I expect these comments will be publicized. I certainly hope so. There had to be consequences.

        Sen Nelson of FL reminded viewers that it was just one night ago that a young singer was killed while signing autographs following her concert.

      • flypusher says:

        Quote from a Trump tweet on NPR: “When will we get tough, smart, and vigilant?”

        Concerning what Donald? The murderer looks to be a native-born American? Can’t bar him from the country. Or are you decrying easy access to guns? This guy might have been on an FBI watchlist if he was connecting with ISIS. But as President Obama said recently, people like that can’t be banned from buying guns.

        Concerning hate crime vs terrorism, there’s an overlap between the two. It’s quite possible that this atrocity has elements of both.

        The President will be speaking about this later. I really want him to start with “Fellow Americans, this is the nth time I’ve had to give yet another press conference about a mass shooting, and frankly I am sick and tired of this shit.” Literally.

      • fiftyohm says:

        FP – Let’s just say that if he’s not “sick and tired of this shit”, there’s something wrong with him. An expression of simple frustration isn’t going to help a thing. Sadly, there are no simple solutions, and certainly none to be had acting out of frustration.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, “no” simple solutions shouldn’t be an excuse or a reason for “no ” effort.
        We as a nation are fighting terrorism overseas but appear unconvinced that domestic terrorism isn’t worthy of our best, concerted, bipartisan efforts.

      • fiftyohm says:

        mime – I hope I didn’t suggest that. Did I?

      • flypusher says:

        50, I was suggesting that he literally swear, for the shock effect. I just heard a clip on the radio from that last time he had to do this, and he did say then that he was very frustrated with yet another mass shooting.

      • 1mime says:

        Shooter worked 9 years for a security firm in Orlando. How ironic.

        I found the presidents remarks very subdued. Possibly, he is controlling his anger. As Fly stated, Obama is already being accused of not doing enough to keep America safe. We have many fools in our country.

      • 1mime says:

        I didn’t say that Fifty. I replied to the thrust of the problem which we cannot ignore as a nation. I’m certain we agree on that point.

        ABC just reported that the shooter called 911 to state he supported ISIL sometime during the melee.

      • fiftyohm says:

        mime – Roger. And thanks for the update.

    • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

      I think we have to shut this whole thing down until we can figure out why men can’t emotionally handle the responsibility of owning firearms or interacting with their fellow human beings. Maybe we need to ban men from safe spaces like bars, movie theaters, airports, grocery stores, schools, etc.

      • flypusher says:

        Somewhat overshadowed by this latest horror was another shooting a day earlier in Orlando, Christina Grimmie, who had been a finalist on “The Voice”. I’ve watched that show off and on. Didn’t see her, but given the quality of the competition that I’ve seen, I don’t doubt that she had some real talent and a bright future ahead of her. But some loser can get a gun and just snuff all that out.

    • vikinghou says:

      The gun lobby’s greatest victory has been its ability to make us all accept that these tragedies are unavoidable, that 50 random murders on a Saturday night are simply the blood sacrifice we must make at the altar of the Second Amendment.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Viking – I’m sure you meant to say something related to the Orlando tragedy, but I missed it.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Fifty, I think he’s saying that the NRA has told us for decades that any attempt at any reasonable regulation of firearms is anticonstitutional. The NRA obstinence on this, burned ng ti budge an inch, will come back to haunt them. There WILL be gun control laws passed eventually if this keeps up, and the NRA will not have a seat atbte table if they don’t get proactive now.

        The 2A was written in an era of flint lock, muzzle loading single shot rifles. It is absurd to naturally assume this amendment covers any and all possible firearms.

        It is illegal to own a functioning tank. Rocket launchers. Artillery pieces. Nuclear weapons. These are all “arms”. The fact that you or I cannot go buy a small nuclear weapon is de facto proof that SOME control of arms is constitutional. To extend that to killing machines that wouldn’t be invented for 150 years when the 2A was written seems pretty reasonable to most ppl.

        If nothing else, clips and certain types of ammo shoukd be restricted. I heard on the news the reason there’s such a high death rate (over 50% fatalities) is due to ammo used. Apparently they are specifically designed to cause massive tissue trauma, by mushrooming and leaving exit holes the size of a bagel . Anybody who thinks it’s their constitutional right to use such ammo is simply wrong.

        Using metal jacketed rounds would have probably killed far less. With these deadly rounds, all you need is to hit someone somewhere, even the leg or arm, and there’s a good chance they’ll die.

        The gun laws in America are flat out obscene and anybody who actively fights against even the most reasonable gun control laws has blood on their hands.

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – This is not the time to have a discussion about gun control, or pressure cooker control, or anything of the sort. That’s what I was saying.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Fifty, that’s such a cop out though. For abject opponents of gun control, there NEVER is.

        Those of us that support common sense gun control are starting to refuse to be cowed by such tactics. Right after a mass shooting is EXACTLY he time to talk about gun control. What better way to honor those killed then using the outrage tobthe act to pass laws that will prevent the incidences of such things.

        If an outbreak of Ebola killed 50 ppl i n Orlando, would we say “now is not the time to have a discussion about infectious diseases. Let’s just give thoughts and prayers and do nothing”

        Did we say “guys, now is not the time to talk about Islamic extremism” after 9/11?

        Did we say “guys, now is not the time to talk about levees” after Hurricane Katrina?

        All those would be insane. Just like refusing to talk about gun control is insane.

        Frankly, I believe we do the victims a huge disservice. If we could talk to the murdered victims right now, what do YOU think they’d say about gun control? “Now is not the time to discuss it?”

        Or more likely “now is EXACTLY the time to discuss you f’ing morons. If you’d discussed it after Columbine, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Walker, etc etc maybe we’d still be alive”

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, I agree with Rob’s position. There is never a good time and reasonable people should be upset and should press for whatever steps would help.

      • objv says:

        Well, fifty, that went well …

        I actually agree with you. I’m too sad to get involved in another round and round discussion about politics, guns and radical Islam at this point. It’s time to mourn the victims. It’s time for the police to get their information straight.

        There will be time enough later. Let’s focus on the victims and their families today.

    • texan5142 says:

      According to some the constitution is not a living document and should not evolve as are knowledge and society does. So be it . At the time the second amendment was drafted, muskets were the weapon of the day. Holding to that conservative principal that the constitution should not evolve with modern times, I hear by declare that only Muskets shall be legal to own from this point forward. This will guaranty the reduction in mass shootings across this great nation. Ammunition for all caliber of military style weapons are henceforth illegal. Single shot rifles and shotguns will be exempt and will be required to have liability insurance.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Listen Tex: We don’t have all the facts on this tragedy yet. Let’s not scream about changing our Constitution just yet, OK? The Paris attacks, for example, had nothing to do with ‘gun control’, and weren’t prevented by it. As someone above stated, it’s unseemly to promote a political or social agenda based on this event at this point.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “it’s unseemly to promote a political or social agenda based on this event at this point.”

        No. Not if that “political agenda” is designed to prevent the very tragedy that happened.

        It would be inappropriate to oush a political agenda that has nothing to do with the tragedy, and just using the spotlight to push an unrelated cause. But to “push your agenda” against a major factor in said tragedy? That’s not only appropriate, it’s an obligation.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Apparently there was an off duty cop stationed at the door. With a gun.

      There was a “good guy with a gun” there, and he was an actual trained one. And he was still able to kill 50 innocents.

      More guns is not the answer. Period.

  37. WX Wall says:

    What, no Game of Thrones?

    • flypusher says:

      Trump could be the anti-Lannister; he does his worst to avoid paying his debts. OTOH he does have some incestuous thoughts.

  38. My vote goes to The Thick of It. If you haven’t seen that, it’s a British series satirising the interaction between the press and politics. It stresses how little control anyone, even the brightest and most ruthless, has over events as they develop; and how the process of trying to paper over the cracks in a developing situation will often aggravate it rather than calm it.

    It’s also the sweariest thing ever written, which I love because I am immature.

  39. formdib says:

    I actually consider House of Cards to be a nostalgia piece, harkening back to a time when politicians were actually capable of Machiavellian intrigue. Like 50s nostalgia, I’m not 100% sure that time ever existed in such a pristine and engaging manner. But nevertheless, it feels better to think our current political issues are the result of dedicated and purposeful action on the part of malevolent agents than the result of a minority of ideologues throwing a monkeywrench in the engine because they can’t policy for shit.

    • goplifer says:

      If you read stories about Lyndon Johnson or Sam Rayburn you get some shades of House of Cards. The difference is that the narcissism seems to be missing. They actually seemed to care about policy outcomes, while treating the whole process as an elaborate, delightful game.

      And yes, I think we watch shows like House of Cards because Veep is frightening, bordering on horror. It is terribly worrying to watch the process up close and realize no one is pulling the strings.

    • Kenneth Devaney says:

      I enjoy House of Cards but VEEP grew on me over time…now I laugh out loud at the crude, simple, funny and very human foibles that makes it more endearing/entertaining for me than HoC…and frankly I need the distraction as I find this Crazy Season that Chris warned of depressing. On a side note Chris, I think I am beginning to understand the Crazy Democrats are heading towards. Was at the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club here in NYC and could hardly recognize the thinking of the constituency I thought I knew so well…they had not invited our Republican colleagues who attend the summer meeting every year. When I asked why they weren’t invited….lets just say my fingers were left in tact to type this.

      We may need a new party for sane pragmatists of all stripes to fight for the Republic.

  40. Dave Mulryan says:

    CSent from my iPhone


  41. Fair Economist says:

    If it were genius schemers, Trump would never have gotten the nomination.

  42. Daniel Cortes says:

    Let me present a third option. 😉 The Brink is worth checking out.

    • WX Wall says:

      IMHO, the brink was a poorly done ripoff of Dr. Strangelove. It even borrowed the structure of three independent story lines.

      If you liked the brink, you’ll love Dr. Strangelove!

  43. flypusher says:

    Slightly OT, doing the right thing is often not easy, but it still needs to be done:

    I so wish that these children in men’s bodies would be publicly outed and shamed. You want your guy to win an election, fine. But spare the rest of us your hypocrisy and venom. Anybody who backs Trump has zero justification in calling anyone a RINO.

    This is why I don’t do Facebook.

  44. 1mime says:

    Believe it or not, I haven’t watched either. I do watch Secretary of State….

  45. flypusher says:

    All 3, with Idiocracy dominant.

  46. texan5142 says:

    Lord of the flies.

  47. texan5142 says:

    Combination of both.

  48. Griffin says:

    Veep. We might be better off if they were genius schemers, at least than they could manage the system and there would be a semblence of stability. And they might have an original policy idea once in a while (America Works!).

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