Month: January 2013

President Obama expresses optimism: now in super-sized gibberish

‎”…when it’s that easy to get these high clip magazines that can fire off hundreds of shots in a few minutes…”

*blink*

In a nutshell, this is why I remain opposed to gun control at this time. When the political leaders that advocate for it cannot even address the subject intelligibly, this is not the time to have that debate. I don’t care that one can read between the lines to see what he’s trying to get at. The fact is, that string of words is gibberish.

“High clip magazine” WTF?

“[T]that can fire off”… What? No, sorry. The magazine doesn’t fire.

And no, I don’t think I’m splitting hairs. If there is a legitimate argument to be made for a restriction on high-capacity magazines, then it needs to be made intelligently. Full stop. Less than that, and what we are witnessing is more loaded speech and rank emotional appeal. FEAR THE HIGH CLIP MAGAZINE THAT FIRES HUNDREDS OF ROUNDS IN A FEW MINUTES.

FWIW, if I’m not trying to hit a particular target (read: just spraying ammo downrange willy-nilly), about the fastest I could go would be 100 rounds in 1 minute if I were using 30-round magazines, allowing for very fast changes of magazines and chambering the first rounds of the new ones.

How many rounds could I fire using 10-round magazines (again, assuming *very* fast magazine changes)? 80. This I have tested by simply going through the motions, which assumes zero fumbling with ejecting a spent mag, zero fumbling getting a fresh mag out of a pouch, zero fumbling with inserting the fresh mag, and zero issues with jams, i.e., an absolutely ideal use of a semi-auto rifle.

Not only would the actual numbers be lower once ideal/imaginary circumstances are replaced with reality, note the degree of rank emotional appeal.  In a “few minutes,” one could still fire off hundreds of rounds with 10-round magazines, ergo, the argument is *not* about magazine capacity. It’s rank politics, pure and simple.

If anyone cares to fund the expense of hundreds of rounds of ammo, a dozen 30-round mags, 36 10-round mags, and suitable web gear/pouches, I’d be more than happy to test this count in real life, using a real weapon, and post the results as a video.

AIG: Today it’s “Thank you, America.” Will it be “Screw you, America” tomorrow?

ScrewThis just in from NYT’s DealBook:

Rescued by a Bailout, A.I.G. May Sue Its Savior

The board of A.I.G. will meet on Wednesday to consider joining a $25 billion shareholder lawsuit against the government, court records show. The lawsuit does not argue that government help was not needed. It contends that the onerous nature of the rescue — the taking of what became a 92 percent stake in the company, the deal’s high interest rates and the funneling of billions to the insurer’s Wall Street clients — deprived shareholders of tens of billions of dollars and violated the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the taking of private property for “public use, without just compensation.”

By all means, give AIG a fair shake and read the NYT piece in its entirety.  The board is indeed stuck between a rock and a hard place. If it doesn’t join the suit, it may face additional suits from shareholders for abstaining.  If it does join the lawsuit, there will be plenty of pissed off Americans.

Here’s the thing going unmentioned by AIG at this juncture:  the board could very well make the case that abstention is ultimately in the best interest of shareholder value.  Heads may roll, but the case could be made.  As noted by the article, it is currently unclear which direction the board will take.  They will probably decide by the end of January.  If they do plan to make the case for abstention, playing their cards close to the vest for now is a savvy move, perhaps, but nevertheless exposes the government to substantial legal costs in the meantime.  Heads they win.  Tails we lose.

The AIG bailout, and the Wall Street bailout in general, has already cost us too much.  Should AIG join the suit and effectively tell the American public, “screw you,” they will have taken us from Too Big to Fail to Too Big to Jail to Too Big to Bail.

And what are we going to do about it?

[insert raucous, maniacal laughter here]

Not a damned thing, unless, that is, we think we can persuade the major shareholders that they should just accept the sentiments of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Judge Paul A. Engelmayer with grace and sit the fuck back down.  Quietly.  And gratefully.

The Treasury Department declined to comment. A spokesman for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Jack Gutt, said, “There is no merit to these allegations.” He noted that “A.I.G.’s board of directors had an alternative choice to borrowing from the Federal Reserve, and that choice was bankruptcy.” 

A federal judge in Manhattan agreed, dismissing the case in November. In an 89-page opinion, Judge Paul A. Engelmayer wrote that while Starr’s complaint “paints a portrait of government treachery worthy of an Oliver Stone movie,” the company “voluntarily accepted the hard terms offered by the one and only rescuer that stood between it and imminent bankruptcy.”

[insert raucous, maniacal laughter here]

My prediction?  We’ll take it up the collective pooper yet again.  Maybe next time we’ll elect a president, hell, we’ll have a choice of candidates, that won’t be hellbent on shoveling our money straight into the voracious maws of these modern day Gilded Agers?

[insert raucous, maniacal laughter here]

Who am I kidding?  Keep it up, America.  Great job.

Talk about your unintended consequences.

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Image credit: Photo of screw by LawPrieR, licensed under Creative Commons.

Updated: Milford, DE’s new twist on “Whites Only” – Signs are gone

Whites Only

UPDATE

‘Threatening’ signs removed at schools

The good news is that the signs have been removed.

As it turns out, plausible deniability may mean this was actually an innocent mistake:

The only reason she [Dr. Phyllis Kohel, Milford School District Superintendent] can think of is that someone duplicated the signs that are posted at the districts middle school and high schools. At those locations, where there are sports fields, there are warnings in English and Spanish that use permits are required and that violators are subject to police action.

On the other hand, I’m in agreement with Ms. Cabrera:

Wilmington Councilwoman Maria Cabrera, however, thinks more should be done. The fact that no one complained about signs that have been up for a year could signal what she said is a statewide cultural dynamic in parts of the Hispanic community.

“Some of us want to stay under the radar and not make waves,” she said. “It shouldn’t happen again, so I think the superintendent should conduct a full investigation to find out how and why this happened.”

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It seems we are not yet past the national embarrassment of “Whites Only” signs marring the civil landscape in America.

Outrage in Delaware (Update X3: EVEN MORE PICS, and MORE SIGNS)

So if you are a white English speaking “American,” you can play here at your own risk so long as you have a parent or guardian watching. If you are brown, if you dare play here without a permit we will arrest your immigrant ass. That is the fucking height of racism, and I will see to it that who ever is responsible for this sign will have their public careers ended immediately.

If this isn’t a clear cut civil rights violation, I don’t know what is.  Kudos to Dan Gaffney (referenced in the article) and delawaredem (the author) for putting this in the spotlight,

The one beef I have about this kind of coverage in our viral media age is that it stops short.  By all means, make this story go viral.  Generate sufficient outrage.  There’s still some easy steps left.  Make calls.

I’m all for local governance, but this is a case where I think a top-down approach might serve the public interest far better.

Tomorrow, I’ll be calling the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice to find out how to file a complaint based on the evidence as presented.

Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
(202) 514-4609
Telephone Device for the Deaf (TTY) (202) 514-0716

Following that call, I’ll be placing one to the State of Delaware’s Office of Human Relations in the Department of State.  Romona Fullman, Director, can be reached at (302) 577-5287.

Since Milford is in both Kent and Sussex counties, there’s two calls to make at the county level:

First, there’s Charles Coker, Chairman, Kent County Parks and Recreation Commission.  I’ll try to reach him, or the relevant staffer, by way of the Division of Parks at (302) 744-2495.

Then there’s the Sussex County Council at (302) 855-7743.  I couldn’t locate a Parks and Recreation number, so this will have to do.

Last, but not least, I’ll be placing a call to Mary Betts, Milford’s Recreation Superintendent, to let her know that this has already been brought to the attention of the federal, state, and county governments.  I should hope mine won’t be the first call she gets on the matter.

My goal here is plain and simple.  This situation deserves more than just viral outrage.  I want officials from the bottom up to become acutely aware that we have no room in 21st Century America for “whites only.”  Correcting this violation of civil rights and attending to any subsequent damage control should be such a tremendous pain in the collective hindquarters that, if only for loathing of paperwork and fear of figuratively rolling heads, the community of Milford, Delaware and any others out there like it learn a vital lesson: segregation in America is a thing of the past.

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Image credit: Photo by Eric Lin, licensed under Creative Commons.

Note:  the actual photos of the offending “whites only” signs are protected under copyright, All Rights Reserved. I have requested that delawaredem consider putting at least one of those photographs in the Creative Commons.

Your humble author on the political compass. Where are you?

CompassAccording to the Political Compass, I am as left as Gandhi, more than the Dalai Lama, and nearly as left as Stalin, but a bit more libertarian/anarchist than Gandhi and far more than Stalin.

How did I stack up against our 2012 presidential candidates?  Of note, Romney and Obama are nearly indistinguishable(!), far to the right of Hitler but only about as fascist as Thatcher.  By this measure, I’m much more libertarian than Rocky Anderson and far to the left of Jill Stein.  No wonder I feel abandoned by both the GOP and the Democratic Party and felt split between Stein and Anderson, but with cool equivocation.

I should probably give up any dreams of retiring in the EU, for that matter.

Where do you stand?  Take the test and find out (link to the test is at the bottom of this intro page).  Are you surprised? Do you agree with the results?

And now to burst a few bubbles

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Image credit: Photo by Walt Stoneburner, licensed under Creative Commons.

Peek-a-boo! Now you see it, now you don’t coverage of Boehner’s Sandy aid betrayal

Dereliction of duty

Getting one’s head around the flurry of headlines on this issue is a good trick.

First, I spotted an article earlier in the day at CNN about Rep. Peter King (R-NY) blasting Boehner and the House for failing to act on the $60 billion bill for Hurricane Sandy aid.  CNN subsequently updated that article, but by update I mean they replaced the old article in its entirety with new content.  The original points are present, tamed and muted.

Later in the day I spotted an article from the NY Daily news: Sources: hurricane aid tabled out of spite.  According to that article, Boehner yanked the bill, for which House Majority Leader Eric Cantor negotiated, in retaliation for Cantor’s refusal to vote for the “fiscal cliff” bill.  Good luck finding the text of that article.  At least for that one I can find some evidence that I didn’t just make it up at PR Newswire.

CNN subsequently replaced their original article with this one about the reversal in the face of outrage.  With a little digging, I was able to locate this footage at CNN.com.  Just in case they bury that deeper, here’s YouTube to the rescue, with Rep. Peter King on the House floor, by way of his own YouTube channel. (more…)

Who just bought Current TV?

Al Jazeera Acquires Current TV
Brian Stelter, January 2, 2013
Media Decoder/New York Times

“Current’s programming will continue for about three months. Then an international feed of Al Jazeera English will be simulcast on the channel. Sometime later in 2013, the rebranded Al Jazeera news channel, with 60 percent American programming, will start.”

This should be interesting.  I  hope that if they can establish a strong viewership they’ll have a positive effect on news programming here in the US.  At the very least, the outcry from the right should be interesting.