Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Bloomberg and Menino Super Bowl Video

M: It's the PATRIOTIC thing to do.
B: You can be a GIANT help.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Cato Institute Study on GDUs

via The Truth About Guns where they loved this study, I mean what's not to love when the Cato boys are singin' the gun-rights song.

The ostensible purpose of gun control legislation is to reduce firearm deaths and injuries. The restriction of access to firearms will make criminals unable to use guns to shoot people. Gun control laws will also reduce the number of accidental shootings. Those are the desired effects, at least in theory. It is important, however, for conscientious policymakers to consider not only the stated goals of gun control regulations, but the actual results that they produce.

What would be the effect of depriving ordinary, law-abiding citizens from keeping arms for self-defense? One result seems certain: the law-abiding would be at a distinct disadvantage should criminals acquire guns from underground markets. After all, it is simply not possible for police officers to get to every scene where they are urgently needed.

Now everyone knows that surveys and polls can be easily manipulated by phrasing the questions one way or the other. But this is too funny. I hope you're sitting down.

This paper uses a collection of news reports of self-defense with guns over an eight-year period to survey the circumstances and outcomes of defensive gun uses in America.
The conclusion: "The bottom line is that gun owners stop a lot of criminal mayhem every year."

What's your opinion?  Is that a riot, or what? Those of us who look at new reports of shootings can tell you that the ratio between improper gun use and proper gun use is, I don't know, what would you say it is? In the past I've put it at 100 to 1.  What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Does His Job,
Without a Gun.
Good for him!

This is an excellent example of letting the police handle crime.

It probably doesn't fit with the take-the-law-into-their-own-hands attitude of many of our more vehement pro-gunners, but it was the right thing to do, the right way to handle things. It must have been very difficult for this firerighter to not only focus on the emergency job at hand, but not to give away what he was thinking so that the police would have a better chance of apprehending the suspected perpetrator without any advance warning to him.

This man personifies the support of due process, law enforcement and the legal system, but also he represents the kind of compassion that returns good for evil in his response that is essential in civilized society.

I hope all of this fire fighter's things are returned to him very quickly, and that the criminals are properly held accountable by the courts.


Cenk on the Private Prisons in Florida

Bogota Colombia Tries Civilian Gun Ban

via ABC News on the attempts of Mayor Gustavo Petro to do something about the murders in Bogota.

... an experimental ban on gun-wielding in public.

The only people authorized to carry weapons during the 90-day trial that began Wednesday are active and retired police and soldiers, bodyguards of diplomats, politicians, judges and prosecutors, armored car guards, gun club members and hunters.
If the experiment does produce a drop in Bogota's murder rate, which was 23.6 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010, Petro said he will consider extending the ban.

Not everyone agrees:

Orlando Parada, a center-right politician on the city council, is skeptical about how effective the ban will be, saying the at least 160,000 registered weapons in Bogota are not the problem.

"It's not the definitive way to confront violence and insecurity in Bogota, because legal weapons only commit a small proportion of crimes" in the capital, Parada said.

There are no official estimates of how many illegal weapons exist in Bogota, although Petro said he believes the number easily exceeds the amount of legal weapons.
One of the detractors said it won't affect the criminals but it might help with the drunken-brawl-type shootings.

Actually this is something I agree with. But I'd add to the drunken brawls, the road rage and some of the domestic violence.

The pro-gun crowd will surely say the criminal shootings will increase because of all the good guys who are disarmed. If they're right, Bogota should soon look like some of those other Colombian cities or even Carracas.

Bogota's murder rate is low when compared with much of provincial Colombia, where violence persists in epidemic proportions, perpetrated by leftist rebels, far-right militias and drug traffickers.

In the southeastern Guaviare region, the murder rate is 101.6 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in Arauca, on the border with Venezuela, the rate is 95.7 per 100,000, according to Colombia's chief coroner's office.

As a country, Colombia's murder rate of 38.3 per 100,000 inhabitants for 2010 is far below such Latin American nations as Honduras and El Salvador, where it was 82.1 and 66, respectively, according to the United Nations.

It also was well below the 48 per 100,000 rate of Venezuela, but higher than Mexico's 18 per 100,000.

What do you think? Would these efforts by the mayor of Bogota have produce no good results or even make matters worse? Or will the murder rate go down, as they hope?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Don, James and a Young Al

The Tear-jerking Resignation Message of Gabby Giffords

Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote for the Detroit Free Press:
So it was painful to watch last week as the will of the people was overturned and one of Arizona's duly elected representatives was forced from office. It wasn't a recall vote or scandal that did it. No, the people's will was overturned by a gun.

Here he offers this description of the problem:

At the very least, we need to have a serious national dialogue about these and other possible solutions.

But we won't. Too many on the political left still seem to harbor a fantasy of getting rid of all guns and refuse to distinguish between responsible gun owners and those criminals or deranged people who have no business with firearms. Too many on the political right still harbor the paranoid delusion that any talk of gun control is code for confiscation by jackbooted thugs riding black helicopters.

So nobody talks. Nobody listens. Meantime, our unwillingness to get serious about an epidemic of gun violence brings us the equivalent of 11 Columbine massacres every week -- three 9/11s every year. Every once in a while, as now, it even overturns an election. The carnage goes on, and on.

And sadly, that, too, reflects the people's will.
I'm not sure who those lefty extremists he's talking about are. Certainly the position on this blog, and the others I know of, is much more reasonable than wanting to disarm EVERYONE.

On the other hand I recognize the righty paranoia that says "any talk of gun control is code for confiscation by jackbooted thugs riding black helicopters." I find that a fairly commonplace attitude on the pro-gun blogs.

My conclusion, unlike that of Mr. Pitts who has described an even-handed blaming of both extremes, is that the gun-rights advocates are mainly to blame. They block meaningful dialogue at every opportunity. They refuse to bend or compromise. They oppose laws like the VA one-gun-a-month law which diminishes the gun flow into the criminal world.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

More on Virginia's Gun Smuggling History

In 1993, Republican and Democratic lawmakers responded by coming together to approve a law that limited handgun purchases to one per month. The law allowed Virginians who wanted to purchase multiple guns to apply for a waiver.

Two years later, the Virginia State Crime Commission conducted a study of the measure's impact on public safety and the illegal flow of firearms to other states. Its findings were clear.

Virginia dropped from first to eighth on the list of states used by illegal gun traffickers. The chances of a gun purchased in Virginia being recovered in a criminal investigation dropped 36 percent nationwide, 66 percent along the northeast corridor and more than 70 percent in New York and Massachusetts. Meanwhile, State Police reported 92 percent of Virginians who applied for a waiver received one.

"Virginia's one-gun-a-month statute... has had its intended effect of reducing Virginia's status as a source for state gun trafficking," the report concluded. "The imposition of the law does not appear to create an onerous burden for law-abiding gun purchasers who apply for a multiple handgun purchase waiver."
We all know what happened, pressure from the gun lobby supported by the gun-rights puplic has succeeded to achieve serious considerations of reversing this very successful and obvioulsy reasonable law. And that, in spite of what Virginia voters think.

What's your opinion? Is it wrong to suggest that gun-rights folks who support this change are supporting criminals and gun smugglers? Usually the gun crowd is crying about being inconvenienced unnecessarily, but that's wrong on both counts. The inconvenience is minimal because they could just request a waiver.  And the claim that the law is unnecessary has proven to be wrong given the improvement 20 years ago in Virginia's gun smuggling history.

So what explains the pro gun resistance to such a common-sense law?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tea Party Tries to Cram Revisionist History down Our Throats
More Right Wing Racism

The Tennessee Tea Party is trying to take references to slavery out of the history textbooks.   Because, you know, it wasn't NICE, and they don't want anyone, especially children, thinking critically about anything.  You know - like history, or......THEM.

To deny the reality of history is to do a terrible wrong to the experience of those who endured slavery, or the minority experience of native Americans.  It is a heinous thing to do, and it is a totally unnecessary thing to do.  It is beyond 'racially insensitive', it is racist.  It is profoundly dishonest.

What it does accomplish is to promote the fact-challenged world view of conservatives that likes to just ignore anything - and there are a LOT OF THINGS - that just don't fit.  So they come up with other words to justify it, to try to put lipstick on their pig of an ideology. But what it boils down to is they LIE.  They lie by omission, and they lie by commission.  They lie lie lie lie lie.

It's no accident that the U.S. is so far behind other developed countries in education.  It is the fault of fact-averse, ideology rather than reality driven conservatives.

From the Huff Po:
During the news conference more than two dozen Tea Party activists handed out material that said, "Neglect and outright ill will have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States. We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government."
And that further teaching would also include that "the Constitution created a Republic, not a Democracy."
The group demanded, as they had in January of last year, that Tennessee lawmakers change state laws governing school curricula. The group called for textbook selection criteria to include: "No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership."
The latest push comes a year after the Texas Board of Education approved revisions to its social studies curriculum that would put a conservative twist on history through revised textbooks and teaching standards.
The Texas revisions include the exploration of the positive aspects of American slavery, lifting the stature of Jefferson S. Davis to that of Abraham Lincoln, and amendments to teach the value of the separation of church and state were voted down by the conservative cadre. Among other controversial amendments that have been approved is the study of the "unintended consequences" of affirmative action.
The board approved more than 100 amendments affecting social studies, economics and history classes for Texas's 4.8 million students.

I'm sure they'd like to lighten up the complexion of black history month as well.  I think it is fair to call that racist on the part of the Tennessee Tea Party.

It's already been tried, removing slavery from references to the causes of the American Civil War.  They don't want to make the connection between race and slavery.

Because the REAL history doesn't work for the conservative point of view.

When you have to CHANGE real history, you are not, emphatically NOT, a person who genuinely cherishes your nation's origins, and you are not a person who genuinely values the documents, the philosophy, or the historic figures who made that history.

This is more of a condemnation of our founding fathers; the next tea party crack'd pot tea pot/tea party conservative who uses the phrase 'founding fathers' should choke on the words before they can escape his or her mouth.

This is the real tea party, a bunch of bowdlerizing hypocrites and puritanical prudes who believe that it is important to teach lies, and that the truth is too dangerous for anyone to know.

That is terrifying, and what is the worst about it is that these assholes ongratulate themselves on how moral and honest and damned patriotic they are.

They got the first part of that right, the 'damned' part.

No wonder these jerks hate science; they hate anything that disagrees with their silly, hysterical, obsessive/compulsive, authoritarian, controlling belief system.

These are people who hate the truth, and who hate freedom, and who hate the REAL origins of this country. They are narrow minded people who would force their notions of conformity on others, and facts be damned.

These are hateful, stupid, ignorant, vicious people who should not be allowed to control other people through the authority of government.  They should be recognized for what they are, and not allowed to order the mis-education of children, ever, until they agree to live in reality, recognizing reality both past and present, including history and science.  Until they do that, they are bitter, narrow-minded, prudish and  dysfunctional human beings and should be recognized as such.  It has never gone well when they have had power.

It shouldn't be surprising that they'd want to rewrite history; they've already tried their hand at rewriting the Bible.   There you go - the conservatives put the b-i-l---e- in Bible.  Apparently nothing is sacred to them other their own insufferable ideology.

Nobody does it better, than Stephen Colbert.  The bit is about 6 minutes in, but getting there is half the fun. (I particularly enjoyed the comparison between Nut Gingrich and a flaming bag of poop you can vote for...).  It's 'Tonight's Word', if you want to watch the whole thing.  It's hilarious.

Update: Significant Reward Offered in Shooting of Sea Lions

The shooting of a natural resource, an endangered species, has resulted in the offer of a $10,000 reward.  Wildlife does not belong to gun owners to shoot.  These animals are not their property, they are protected species.  This is a crime; whoever did this is one more gun owner, one more shootist, who is not lawful.

ON the Pacific coast, sea lions have been an important animal to tourism, with more than one species or variety of sea lion involved, so it would not surprise me to see additional rewards if necessary, to get results.

From :

$10,000 reward in sea lion killings

This dead sea lion with bullet wounds was found on a West Seattle beach on Jan. 23.
A group best known for fighting off whalers has joined federal investigators looking into the recent killings of sea lions near Seattle, offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.
Another sea lion was found dead over the weekend, adding to seven others found in recent weeks with bullet wounds. A harbor seal was also found dead.
Federal officials planned to examine the latest sea lion on Tuesday to determine if it, too, had been shot.
The latest sea lion found was on the Nisqually River, south of Seattle, as were six of the other sea lions.
"This is a violation of U.S. federal law and the person or persons responsible for these shootings must be apprehended and brought to justice," Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said in announcing the reward late Monday.
Watson, who is on a Sea Shepherd ship off Antarctica pursing Japanese whaling ships, noted that his group has offered rewards in the past, including one that led to the arrest of a man convicted of killing 22 seals in New Zealand.
STORY: 8 sea lions found dead
The suspicion has been that sea lions in the Seattle area's Puget Sound are being targeted because they devour salmon, thus reducing what's available for fishermen.

"Sadly, shootings occur annually in the Pacific Northest, particularly in fall and winter when large numbers of sea lions move into our area in search of food," Seal Sitters, a group that responds to marine mammal strandings in the Seattle area, noted in its blog.
Sea lions are certainly feeding this winter, including the Nisqually, where a state wildlife biologist recently took photos of a large congregation. "This is the most sea lions I have ever seen at once in south sound," Pete Topping told the Seattle Times of the Dec. 24 sighting.

Another sea lion body found on Nisqually Delta

It is unknown whether this is the ninth sea lion found shot dead in recent weeks, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will conduct a necropsy to determine how the animal died. view full article
Anyone with information was urged to contact the federal investigation hotline at 800-853-1964. "The information can be provided in confidence and the source can remain confidential," Sea Shepherd said in a statement.
Penalties could range from fines to jail time. One of the animals killed was a Stellar sea lion, a species protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.