Actually, I do want to take your guns away

Not all of them, just most of them. And I’d like to have every gun registered, and sold in a regulated way, no more of this “gun show” shit. And I’d like to have serious restrictions on who can own guns — like, if you’ve been convicted of domestic violence, you don’t get to fondle guns anymore. Let’s ban all those assault rifles and any weapon that can be fired fast enough that you can murder 50 people in short order. We should also criminalize the NRA, because they’re already destructive enough to society.

I’m looking at this list of NRA contributions in the last election, and it’s kind of eye-opening. The only Democrat who received any donations from the NRA was Hillary Clinton, and it was more of a pathetic token tip.

Over $11 million to elect Trump, almost $20 million to oppose Clinton? Yeah, that $265 she got from the NRA is more of an insult than a donation. Then there’s this list of all the NRA blood money recipients who also sent fucking thoughts & prayers to the Las Vegas massacre victims.

By the way, that murderous asshole hauled 23 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition to his hotel room. Shouldn’t owning that many weapons be indicative of a pathology that makes the person a danger to their community? This was a sick man — not sick in the sense of mentally ill, but sick in the sense of possessing a vicious, deadly criminality.

Oh, one more thing I want: repeal the second amendment. It’s been twisted far beyond its original intent, for those who have a religious devotion to the intent of the Founding Fathers, and its original intent was selfish, elitist, and racist, for those who don’t.

I suspect I won’t get any of my wishes met in my lifetime, though, because this country is run by plutocrats with millions of yahoos in their pockets.

Just another American with guns

A terrible mass murder in Las Vegas: at least 20 people are dead when a man opened fire on a country western concert. The murderer was a local man named Stephen Paddock, who has since been killed by the police. Reports indicate that he was using some kind of automatic rifle, which you’d guess from the fact he killed a score and wounded at least a hundred, and that a search of his hotel room found even more weapons that he’d left behind. Also, the media is naturally calling him a “lone wolf”, since he’s white and so can’t possibly be a terrorist fed conspiracy theories.

So will this be the final straw that convinces the US to implement some kind of rational gun control?


The New York Times is reporting that the death toll has reached 50.

A question of character

Trump on the Howard Stern show:

I was at Mar-a-Lago and we had this incredible ball, the Red Cross Ball, in Palm Beach, Florida. And we had the Marines. And the Marines were there, and it was terrible because all these rich people, they’re there to support the Marines, but they’re really there to get their picture in the Palm Beach Post… so you have all these really rich people, and a man, about 80 years old—very wealthy man, a lot of people didn’t like him—he fell off the stage.

So what happens is, this guy falls off right on his face, hits his head, and I thought he died. And you know what I did? I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s disgusting,’ and I turned away. I couldn’t, you know, he was right in front of me and I turned away. I didn’t want to touch him… he’s bleeding all over the place, I felt terrible. You know, beautiful marble floor, didn’t look like it. It changed color. Became very red. And you have this poor guy, 80 years old, laying on the floor unconscious, and all the rich people are turning away. ‘Oh my God! This is terrible! This is disgusting!’ and you know, they’re turning away. Nobody wants to help the guy. His wife is screaming—she’s sitting right next to him, and she’s screaming.

What happens is, these 10 Marines from the back of the room… they come running forward, they grab him, they put the blood all over the place—it’s all over their uniforms—they’re taking it, they’re swiping [it], they ran him out, they created a stretcher. They call it a human stretcher, where they put their arms out with, like, five guys on each side

I was saying, ‘Get that blood cleaned up! It’s disgusting!’ The next day, I forgot to call [the man] to say he’s OK. It’s just not my thing.

Now, San Juan Mayor Carmen Youlin Cruz:

Trump, from his golf course in New Jersey:

How can anyone be surprised? We’ve elected a callous narcissist. A psychopath. A corrupt and greedy monster. A sane and responsible republic would have gotten rid of him long ago, but we also have a corrupt and greedy Republican party in control of everything, and they do nothing. They’re also more concerned with blood getting on their marble floors than with human lives.

Hypocrisy in Silicon Valley, again

I’m not one of the people who follows Donald Trump on Twitter — I get more than enough second hand Trump without mainlining him. I’m kind of appalled that he’s still allowed on Twitter, frankly, since he’s abusive and bullying and vile, but of course, that’s never been a reason to close a Twitter account. And now we have it straight from Twitter itself that they’re never going to ban him.

The actual statement is about Trump’s tweets being “newsworthy,” with Twitter claiming that letting him stay on the platform helps keep people “informed about what’s happening in the world.” This justification helps absolve Twitter of any responsibility for what Trump does, and it saves the company from having to take any specific stand against anything he might do or say. Also, the thread says that Twitter holds all accounts “to the same rules,” which is funny because it’s definitely not true.

That’s such a pile of bullshit. You could say exactly the same thing about Andrew Anglin, the racist who runs the Daily Stormer. Rising racism is “newsworthy”, and we should be “informed about what’s happening”. Your more mundane stalker/harasser, likewise…if he’s significant enough that you’re complaining, then he’s “newsworthy”, and hey, don’t you want to keep informed about what he’s doing?

Twitter has banned some people, at least temporarily. They slapped down Anglin, for instance. But it’s only when their behavior becomes embarrassing to the company. Apparently, two petty maniacal tyrants taunting each other into nuclear war, or the white nationalist leader of a country fomenting racial hatred in the populace, are not at all embarrassing. That’s good business. It won’t be their fault if a few million people get killed because they enabled a tantrum.

Here’s a reason to ban him anyway, though. You’ve heard of all the football fans burning their team jerseys and season tickets to protest football players who don’t exhibit sufficient worshipfulness to a flag? Imagine if Twitter banned Trump: millions of outraged Trumpkins would delete their accounts in protest; all those people with frog avatars and swastikas would vanish. It would become almost paradisial. The majority of users would be overjoyed, and be gushing over the improved quality of the communication. It would be the one simplest, easiest thing they could do to diminish their asshole problem. So it won’t happen.

Graham-Cassidy is dead

I caught a bit of the Graham-Cassidy-Sanders-Klobuchar town hall meeting last night. The Republicans were smarmy liars.

But it doesn’t matter. The latest attempt to kill Obamacare is dead again, not that that will prevent the Republicans from taking more swipes at it.

It’s kind of like a movie, where Obamacare is John Wick, and endless streams of enemies are rushing at him and he manages to avoid getting fatally shot but still pumps a few bullets into one assassin after another.

Sheesh. That analogy for a health care plan kinda went wildly astray, I think.

Her accompt booke

Rebecca Steele was 13 years old when she started her math workbook in 1702. We still have the book, and it’s amazing!

Manuscript mathematical cipher book written in 1701 and 1702 by Rebecca Steele, a young student in Bristol. Pages exemplifying specific mathematical operations and concepts are embellished with calligraphic designs and command-of-hand drawings, and some lessons are dated. Many processes and operations are described in long word problems, including one (p. 30) where Steele is set the problem of figuring her exact age. She gives her birthdate as 28 May 1689 at 8:12pm and the present date as 17 April 1702 at “about 10 in ye morning.” She is likely the Rebecka Steele who appears in Quaker birth records for the city of Bristol as a daughter of William and Melior Steele, born on 28 May 1689 in Thomas Street.

Browse through it online, and you might be astonished. Thirteen year olds nowadays don’t generally have the ability to produce work like it. It’s a math book, but it mostly seems like an exercise book in calligraphy — I imagine that in the early 18th century much of the practice of teaching had to be taken up with mastering the art of quill and brush and ink, and that even when working on something as basic as multiplication tables, there was all this ancillary effort required required to put it on the page, and that there was a great deal of social reward for doing it artfully.

That got me thinking about the Flynn effect, too. Was Rebecca Steel less intelligent than your typical 21st century 13 year old? I rather doubt it. You ought to be impressed at what she was doing in her work book, even if the math seems trivial. But what she was doing was exercising a collection of important skills that wouldn’t make the grade in the standardized tests of today.

It also says something about the enabling effect of the progression of technology. We can pick up a ballpoint pen or a pencil and make marks on plentifully available perfectly white paper, without having to even think about the tech that makes it all possible. There was a time when writing was a complex skill that required an appreciation of the physical properties of ink, of the shape of your pen nib, of the texture of the paper. I’d be utterly confused if someone handed me a bottle of ink and a goose feather, and if I had to write a short note it would be a blotchy mess, and my hands would be smudged black.

I salute you, Rebecca! I wonder what happened to her?

Bye, Milo, you’re done now

Fifteen is exactly the right amount of time for minutes of fame and for Milo Yiannopoulos’s speech at Berkeley yesterday, which apparently no one could hear anyway, and which cost UC Berkeley $800,000 for security. It’s a metaphor for his career, I guess: an overpriced flash of incoherent bullshit, soon gone and forgotten, except for the slimy stain he leaves behind.