Friday, July 24, 2015

Caveat lector: NRA proposes arming movie theaters

After the latest shootings in a movie theater, the NRA wants to set up an armed patrol system like the TSA.
Patrollers would have access to heavy weapons, including .50 caliber machine guns and Barretts.
The NRA said nuns and clergymen should be armed.
Three people
 died Thursday in Louisiana, including the gunman, in one of the most heavily states in nation and a place where the Confederate flag drives people to action at any cost. They were watching the comedy “Trainwreck.”In the Denver area a jury is considering the death penalty James Holmes for killing 12 people and woundeing 50 more during a showing of Darknight Rising.
Four Marine and a sailor were killed two weeks in Chattanooga.
Metal detectors would be set up at all entrances, and only people with concealed carry permits would be able to bring in weapons. They would have to keep them concealed, to avoid disturbing unarmed movie goers.
A kiosk carrying ammunition and body armor would be open, with charges only be collected after the attack was quelched.
There was one report that the pro-gun organization, which has resisted controls on even automatic weapons, said movies themselves should be banned. The Borowitz report suggested background checks before people are admitted in theaters.
It was not clear whether this ban would include viewing movies at home, or playing video games in which guns were a key element. The Columbine killers psyched themselves up for the massacre watching videos in the basement, even filming themselves planning it.
The Onion has predicted that after a great sound and fury, nothing will happen. There is too much money involved in for government manufacturers.
While it can be argued that vigalanties, meaning not security guards or cops, have not stopped a massacre the NRA says is because only 270 million of 318 Americans are armed.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Global warming: The ultimate reality show

As Mark Twain noted, truth is stranger than fiction. Even James Patterson’s talent, as shown in the show “Zoo,” might be stretched.
A show on climate change could include episodes on starving polar bears and wildfires engulfing California freeways to turn cars. A day later, also in California and not far away, heavy rains washed away a freeway bridge. Hobby drone users had their own videos. What a binge!
Motorists had to run for their lives while remembering warnings not to be outside their cars when tankers dumped water and/or retardant.
While some areas, including India, were reporting extraordinary hot weather, others reported cooler temperatures with precipitation twice the average, such as Colorado. Tornadoes and floods get much TV news coverage but do not clear things up at all.
Such contradictions allow cynics to argue there is no problem, though scientists who alerted the world to the problem never said conditions would be the same everywhere. The phrase "climate change" is now the politically correct way to talk about the fact that the entire planet's average temperature is rising.
The “Merchants of Doubt” were able to delay recognition that cigarettes cause cancer for nearly 70 years.
Are there now Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse? That would include the addition of global warming, or call it climate change.
The drought in California is the worst in 1200 years.
Some research said polar bears were starving to death because a sort of walking hibernation, like sleepwalking, was not enough.
Other research showed bears eating dolphins trapped by ice or rushing to land to eat caribou, a survival method not likely to be well-received.
In “Zoo,” animals revolt and begin attacking humans.
Research and Patterson’s story could fit in with James Lovelock’s “gaia” theory, which holds that earth is self-regulating and will do whatever it takes to preserve itself.
If true, it could wreak havoc with industrialized economies, which have been built around existing known weather patterns.
Those who should alert the nation do not appear to be taking the threat seriously. Climate change is barely mentioned, at the very end of an article in the New York Times, on how California's wildfire season is now 12 months long.
If the media had accepted the threat viewers would simply go to Google News daily, or several times a day, and do a search for "climate change." Alas, editor-driven reporters and writers are told to stick to the basic story. Just the facts, mam.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Killing is so common it is sane

Only in America can a man file into a movie theater, fatally wound 12 people and be found sane. And it took a jury in the Denver area less than two days after 13 weeks of testimony.
Also on Thursday, a gunman killed three US Marines in Chattanooga. Are terrorists insane? The trial of a lover of the Confederate flag, who murdered nine blacks praying in South Carolina, is at least a year away.
A day earlier Colorado’s medical board voted to deny veterans the right to use medical marijuana to treat PTSD. The Denver Post said 5 percent or less of Colorado doctors approve of the use of marijuana, showing they were at odds with the 55 percent who voted to approve it.
The expected death sentence for Holmes likely will result in years of appeals. The same jury will go through a procedure to set the verdict for the 27-year-old man who also wounded 70 people on July 20, 2012.
The Denver media much of the fact that two of Holmes” jurors had some involvement in the Columbine massacre. The need for more mental health treatments in the country remains on the backburner 16 years are two young men killed themselves after their bloody attack.
As in the Columbine case, there were warnings that Holmes was dangerous. Most massacres have been preceded by what were later deemed to have been writing on a public wall.
A major issue will be the idea that anyone who can tell right from wrong is insane. Some assume that a crime that takes considerable planning is ipso facto sanity. Using such logic Hitler would be considered sane.
But there also is the “irresistible test” when a killer would commit a crime even with a policeman at his/her elbow.
Psychiatrists from the same community that helped federal agents torture people post Twin Towers were hired by both the prosecution and the defense to convince jurors.
Film of Holmes smashing his head again his cell wall may have raised questions that didn’t need to be asked by shrinks or psychologists.
A jury might well be asked whether killings like the Aurora theater are so common that they are clearly indicative of sanity.
Even psychiatrists hired by the defense made it a patchwork defense. Pursuing their arguments to their logical conclusion, a killer could vacillate between sanity and insanity.
Alfred Hitchcock made a career of exploiting this thin and constantly shifting line in movies like “Psycho” and “Spellbound.”
Gregory Peck’s performance is far more disturbing than any false impression he gave as Atticus Finch 17 years later.
The most important question, and one that is attracting little attention, is how can such horrific crimes be stopped.
How to deal with this issue in age of terror must also be considered. The New Yorker reports in “Dark Hours”  the “sense that everything has always been thus and nothing we do can matter. “
Even bringing these subjects up can get you knocked off of Websites like Digital Journal. The stories are still out there for everyone to see. Today we find out that the Tennessee shooter spent seven months in Jordan. What next? With all this spying?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Is Trump taking the GOP to the cleaners?

Selecting Donald Trump as the way to stop the Hillary Clinton juggernaut seems as sensible as picking Shorty Guzman as Mexican transport minister because he organized the building of a mile-long tunnel to escape prison.
Unless it were in a Key and Peele skit, it makes no sense to choose someone who supports everything that Republican party has shown to be off the grid.
On top of that, as if he were on a wall about to fall off, the hotelier has chosen to insult the growing Hispanic voting population.
Perhaps he should leave it to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to attack those he doesn’t agree with.
Yet Trump continues to float to the top of Republican presidential polls.
The New York Times reports: “Republicans who are worried about Mr. Trump’s ascent argue that it is still early in the race and that his poll numbers are driven by his name recognition.” How much longer this line of thought can continue to hold more water than a board is questionable.
Should Trump win a primary he might have built a castle that will be hard to bring down.
Times notes that the surging poll numbers come with unfavorability ratings hitting 61 percent. Will that make it possible for party bosses to veto him.
It appears unlikely that Hispanics can stop him in early primaries, no matter how angry they are.
Former Mexican President Vincente Fox says Trump is an idiot.
"He's acted like an idiot. ... I don't know how he's made so much money. He doesn't deserve it," he said.
The bottom line is that Trump trails Hillary Clinton 51 to 34 percent.
Trump’s message, that he wants to take the country back, may resonate with Americans who believe the rich control the country.
"The real problem isn't that the Republicans have such a hate-spewing character running for president," Democratic presidential outsider Martin O'Malley said. "The problem is that it's so hard to tell him apart from the other candidates."
Speaking at a conference of the National Council of La Raza, Democrats were ready to hand Trump the nomination.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Confederate flag no longer blowing in the wind

For many of those who grew up outside the South, the rebel flag has never had much appeal, let alone the rebel yell.
Now it is gone with the wind, and for some the film never had much appeal either. Now we don't give a damn.
With heavy security watching, the flag came down Friday morning, the New York Times reported. The South Carolina legislature acted relatively quickly to bring it down after the murders at the Charleston Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17.
It has been written in many places that although the Confederacy lost the Civil War, it won the cultural wars that followed.
No more. The tipping point was the murder of nine Christians in a Charleston, S.C., church. They were at a prayer meeting in the so-called “Bible Belt.”
Flags were important during the war, and were important to the killer.
Online activists found Internet website evidence of a racist manifesto put forth by Dylann Roof.
It included him waving the Confederate flag and Nazi symbols and burning an American flag. 
Fifteen years ago, when he was governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura refused to return to Virginia a battle flag captured by a regiment from his state.
He put it in wrestler’s language, very succinctly, when asked to return it at a national governor’s meeting. “Absolutely not. Why, I mean, we won.” And it was taken at Gettysburg.
Even now it appears that there is a wide swath in the former Confederacy that does not understand it lost the war that freed the slaves.
It was fought over slaves, not states’ rights.  A PBS broadcast still spreads the lie.
If it is going to be claimed that it was fought over states’ rights then it must be recognized that northern states demanded the right to free slaves who reached their territory, guided by the North Star, as told in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 meant that anyone who housed escaping slaves could be jailed
Jack Bass, an emeritus professor of social sciences and humanities at the College of Charleston, told the Times: “This is a high moment for South Carolina. It’s significant. It could be a turning point.”
That remains to be seen, but it is true the war began with a rebel attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. Or will it just be another day?