news you really didn't want to hear,
plus pointless commentary.
February 24, 2018
So, here we are again: another school shooting. A nation heartbroken, horrified, worried -- and jumping on political bandwagons.
As soon as the debate on any sort of gun control starts, people who already hold deeply entrenched positions start hurling catchphrases. The rhetoric escalates, idiotic accusations emerge, and hands are wrung.
Even the accepted language is loaded: "Gun Violence" is all lumped together, and includes shootings by police. As the police kill somewhere around 1,500 Americans a year, this rather skews things. It also includes suicide, which is a tragic problem in America, but which has nothing to do with school shootings and robberies and gang violence and drive-byes -- the things that drive the fear of guns. "Gun Control" is another way of saying "Gun ban, gun confiscation, gun ownership restriction" -- which is what "control" comes down to. Some welcome this, some do not.
This issue just might have finally reached critical mass in the USA, and people in power are now caught flat-footed and unprepared as our citizens show that they have finally, at long last, had enough: Students substitute gun control protest for active shooter drill.
Eventually, well-meaning pundits will say we need to have a "Meaningful Conversation" about Gun Control.
Please, let's not.
I'm not against "meaningful conversation" as such; it's a vitally important factor in personal relationships, in families, in therapy, and in emotional healing after trauma. It focuses on feelings and perceptions and on "being heard" and on actually listening -- all good things.
But it won't help us with legislation or policy.
For legislation and policy, how about we have a Rational Conversation?
Let's have a conversation based on reality, on hard facts, on verifiable statistics, and on the study of actual data.
Let's make some policy decisions based on the hard data from nations, states and municipalities who have tried various approaches, and from the actual results of those approaches.
Let's have some SCIENCE BASED POLICY.
Except we can't. The data on guns, shootings, and the influence of laws and policy on crimes committed with firearms is secret in America. The FBI has loads of it, but won't divulge it. Local police departments, combined, have massive piles of it, but won't release it, won't compile it, won't talk about it, and won't let anyone look at it.
Gun research faces roadblocks and a dearth of data | Science News
We can't even find out how many people are shot by the police in America; they won't tell us.
We have to make educated guesses on such things, by extrapolating incomplete data, and by using the sorts of statistical methods that are necessary in third wold dictatorships that have collapsed into chaos and violence.
Calculating US police killings using methodologies from war-crimes trials.
When we try to study how bad things have gotten, we have to compile news reports to find data. No government is willing to talk about how, for example, their own county has the most trigger-happy Law Enforcement gang in the entire nation.
The County: the story of America's deadliest police.
Why is the data secret? Because Congress wants it that way.
So let's push for Congress to mandate data collection from every law enforcement agency in the nation, from every hospital and clinic, for free and open database access, and for a well-funded study by the CDC on how firearms affect life in America, and on what sorts of policies and laws have had a verifiable, sustained, positive effect on safety and well-being.
Let's start with reality, with actual truth, with real data, and talk about that. A radical notion, I know, but at this point, what have we got to lose?
February 18, 2018
December 17, 2017
The CDC just got a list of words forbidden by the Trump Admin: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.
December 13, 2017
Finally cleaned up some dysfunctional links in the sidebar.
November 15, 2017
Wow, it's been too long since my last post. But time flies when the world is going to hell.
Really, this entire post should all come down to this article:
War Clouds Gather -- track all the signs.
David Brin -- brilliant scientists and author, thinks that Trump is steering us into war with Iran. And Brin has good reasons for thinking this. There are powerful people that really, really want this, but the driving force is Putin, and Vald the Influencer can play Trump like a cheap harmonica. And it would help bring about Armageddon, which Dominionist in Chief Mike Pence prays fervently for. Bannon (who is still gleefully pulling strings from behind the curtain) and Rupert Murdock will rake in billions from this.
It would be catastrophic.
This one has me off on a rant. Better education doesn't correlate strongly to economic mobility (but union membership does). You're damn straight it does. Unless you organize, your bosses will treat you like slaves. And if you haven't noticed, your bosses have been organized for the last 6,000 years. It's called Feudalism, and it's making a big comeback.
We have Ronald Reagan to thank for dismantling America's Unions, and his dismantling of the Fairness Doctrine for the corporate narrative that now propagandizes all coverage of worker's rights:
First off, Four Quitters Walk Into a Bar... and talk about what it's like in the White House today.
Was there collusion?
Meanwhile, the wreckage continues: What Is 'Whataboutism,' And Why Is It Suddenly Everywhere? John Oliver can explain that very well: The Trump Presidency: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
August 15, 2017
You may have heard that a Total Solar Eclipse is coming soon to a state near you. Solar Eclipse Map: See How the Eclipse Will Look Near You. Another look from a different website: A solar eclipse is coming to America. Here’s what you’ll see where you live. If you just happen to live in the totality path, then throw a Barbecue Brunch and enjoy. If you live very close by, and figured you might just hop in the car for a short drive, think again. This Statistics: Total solar eclipse of Aug 21, 2017 website has a wonderful array of maps to show you what you are up against, and what to expect if you want to try and brave a possibly epic traffic jam. Several of the western states are expecting big traffic trouble: Trying to catch the total eclipse of the sun? (Denver Post) Plan ahead or you might be stuck in I-25 traffic.Science:
Finnegan's Wake: the title that strikes terror into every avid reader's heart.Business:
I have not posted this article below before, because I was waiting for some confirmation. While quite a bit of confirmation has come, it has been buried in a landslide of Trump scandal, the width and depth of which has been so overwhelming that it will take decades to sort out just how many laws The Donald has broken. In any case, while it's a somewhat long read, it's worth looking at, and it paints a devastating picture of Trump that explains why so many of us said all along that he is utterly unfit for office.
"We All Knew About the Trafficking" - The Untold Story of Trump Model Management.
The tsunami of trash that is Trump has buried so much, that it could very well turn out that Trump, just as he said he could, might have shot someone dead in the street, on camera, and we simply haven't noticed yet.
July 19, 2017
The Trump / Russia scandal is moving so fast that it's pointless to try and keep up in a single post.
May 31, 2017
Some good news:
The Tesla Roof will last forever and make your house energy independent.
The Company home page: tesla.com/solarroof
The FAQ: tesla.com/support/solar-roof-faqs
They have a lifetime warranty.
Buying just for the purpose of solar power isn't terribly enticing; it takes about 25 years to produce enough electricity to pay for the roof. This is why solar electrical generation has always been such a small market; it takes too long for the electricity generated to equal the initial cost of installation. Most people can't afford to wait more than two or three years for a payout on utilities costs.
However, every house must have a roof. This changes everything, and that's the genius of this approach. As soon as you realize that a Tesla roof is actually slightly cheaper than a standard roof, and it lasts forever, and oh by the way, it produces enough electricity to run your entire house, then boy howdy do you have something there.
At the 30 year point, most roofs have started to deteriorate to the point where now you have to suffer the cost of a new roof -- again. A 30 year old Tesla roof is still in prefect shape, and it is powering your entire house, with enough electricity left over to charge your Tesla car.
If you are building a new house, or if you have to replace your current roof, why not Tesla?
Also, fusion power generation is getting closer: http://www.sci-techuniverse.com/2017/05/researchers-have-turned-on-world-first.html
May 26, 2017
A few Items Of Note:
May 16, 2017
Reporter arrested for asking the Secretary of Health a question.
Then there's the latest about Fearless Leader claiming he has the right to commit treason. And the leak was far worse than is being currently reported. In a stunning, meaningless and trivial development, even Ann Coulter has called Trump "grotesque", and his administration "a disaster."
Can this get worse? Oh, yes. It can.
And it will.
Food and Drink:
Most management consulting is complete BS, according to a top management consultant: "The Enron story wasn’t just about bad deeds or false accounts; it was about confusing sound business practices with faddish management ideas, celebrated with gusto by the leading lights of the management world all the way to the end of the party." The Management Myth.
So, as you've heard, United Airlines had airport cops beat the hell out of a passenger with a legitimate paid ticket: United Airlines traveler knocked unconscious and dragged off overbooked flight. And then they lied about it. And then the cops lied about it. And then the passenger's lawyer had some eloquent words to say about it.
You'd think that incidents like this would be somewhat rare. You'd be wrong:
March 26, 2017
Bernie was right all along
In other news:
Are Baby Boomers A 'Generation Of Sociopaths'?
I would have said not, but then the article got me thinking.
It's actually not all that unusual: Police fetch high-powered rifle to kill family dog at child's birthday party.
February 18, 2017
Donald Trump Calls The Media "The Enemy Of The American People."
Donald, Donald, Donald. It's the first amendment, dude.
February 17, 2017
Yankee Doodle Went To Town and Had Himself A Press Conference.
If your are in a TL;DR mood, Colbert had a pretty good summary.
One way to fight back is using tweets In His Own Words. But it's all meaningless: words won't make a difference. Votes will. The Courts will. And Congress will -- if they care to. And as long as individual GOP Congresscritters feel that the situation is advantageous to them personally, they will do nothing but go along happily, no matter the cost.
Although Stephen Bannon fooled Trump into signing the executive order giving him a national security role, it turns out that Michael Flynn was probably the Shadow Master behind the NSC takeover -- and we only know that now because of leaks. The GOP wants heads on a platter over those leaks.
The recent news has revealed an entirely predictable mishmash of chaos, bungling, incompetence, war against the poor, (and "the poor" is almost all of us) and petty rants, but do not forget that there is also a very quiet, very effective consolidation of power happening. And it's working. And there was already a lot of power to start with.
And it is leading to stuff like this: White House Considered Mobilizing National Guard To Round Up Unauthorized Immigrants. Which they deny, even though copies of the memo are everywhere. That is, by the way, while this is already happening: Immigration Raids Are Reported Around The Country.
You got some real genuine fascist stuff going there, folks.
I know, I know, there's no point preaching to the choir. But you may not have heard all of it: U.S. spies are withholding intelligence from Donald Trump, who has none.
Our Deteriorating Life:
February 10, 2017
January 31, 2017
The move Steve Bannon made to take over the NSC is deeply disturbing.
This dismantles one of the most powerful offices in the world, and replaces it with him, alone, running the NSC. He's doing all of it without a paper trail, and he doing it with zero oversight and zero dissent allowed. The NSC is dangerously close to becoming a new Secret State Police with almost unlimited authority -- and Bannon says he doesn't believe that Federal Judges have any authority to interfere with him.
Steve Bannon Is Making Sure There’s No White House Paper Trail, Says Intel Source
‘He is running a cabal’: White House leaker says Steve Bannon runs ‘shadow NSC’ with no paper trail
NSC Officer Says 'Bannon Is Running A Cabal' - Keeps Them In The Dark
As for the Election itself, read this, and understand what happened:
How the Trump Campaign Built an Identity Database and Used Facebook Ads to Win the Election.
And also: How psychometrics and big data won the election.
January 29, 2017
Trump just removed the National Intelligence Director and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff from the National Security Council.
He replaced them with white supremacist website editor Steven Bannon. COUP: Bannon takes over the National Security Council.
Proud to be a "True Blue" American.
Papa Vox Archives:
September through December, 2011
April through Aug, 2011
Sept through March 2011
July through Oct, 2010
Jan through June, 2010
Old and somewhat interesting posts, stripped of their former political grousing:
An experiment in the supposition that shoes are bad for you with reviews of various "nearly barefoot" alternatives to the evil shoe.
An experiment in lowering the set-point as a means of safe, rapid, nearly-effortless weight loss.
The miracle of medical massage.
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Don't be suckered by a dubious email that smells like an urban myth. Look it up and find out:
David Brin's Blog
One of today's greatest SciFi authors. A rational, scientific approach to modern life and governmental policy -- what a radical concept!
Websites worth visiting:
Center for American Progress
Crooks and Liars
The US Cabinet
Your State Government
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