I want to tell you one of my favorite political stories. Then, I want to tell you my newest favorite political story. Continue reading NRA Supported Politicians: They are coming for you.
Donald Trump will advance the regulation and control of deadly weapons but not in the way you might think. He is currently contemplating, which is a big word to use for Trump so maybe I mean having some verbal diarrhea that vaguely resembles an idea, banning assault style weapons and bump stocks. Of course, he can’t do that himself, it would be Congress, but he’s talking about it.
But we know that for most issues, Trump has no conviction. He’ll say one thing one day, change his mind the next day, accept a deal that totally tosses out what he promised the week before, etc. Therefore, his comments on these issues over the last several hours are meaningless.
But, Republicans in Congress have to respond to them. We have a situation where out of the blue, a Republican President is suddenly being “tough on guns” and the Republicans in Congress are now stuck between a rock and a hard place in a very large way. Trump on one side and the aggrieved populous, led mainly by suddenly-active High School Students, on the other, fueling an already well established ant-gun lobby.
If Trump sticks to his guns, as it were, for several days, this is going to macerate many of those Republicans, and contribute significantly to the process of the GOP digesting itself.
This is working out like the first draft of some good fiction.
In the end, Trump’s actions over the current crisis will cause a number of Congressional Republicans to get kicked out. We will never know which ones, but certainly some of them.
By the way, some of you know that I was asking around about popcorn poppers. I decided on the Presto 04841 Orville Redenbachers Hot Air Popcorn Popper, and I’m very happy with it. I wonder what made me think of that?????
Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Otto just released a letter calling on the Minnesota House and Senate, which returned to session this morning, to ban assault type rifles and bump stocks, and to institute universal background checks.
Otto is currently State Auditor, and is running in a fairly large field for Governor. Her main opponent is NRA funded Congressman Tim Walz, who has been fairly silent in recent days since the latest massacre of 17 children and school staff in Florida.
On the first day of the 2017-2018 legislative session, State Auditor and gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Otto urged the Minnesota legislature to take immediate action on gun safety — including banning assault-type rifles like the AR-15 and bump stocks as well as passing universal background checks to close the gun show or private sale loophole.
“Enough is enough. It is way past time for us to act on gun safety legislation,” said Otto. “States must lead the way on gun safety now as the U.S. Congress and Trump have shown they are paralyzed by NRA dollars.”
Otto cited two specific bills that she hopes the Minnesota legislature will pass this year for Governor Dayton to sign. SF 1261/HF 1669, which is sponsored by Sen. Ron Latz, requires universal background checks for all gun purchases made between private parties, and all firearm transactions to be recorded on a federal form, which would close the private sale loophole.
Otto also supports HF 2781, sponsored by Rep. John Considine, which would make bump stocks illegal by changing their classification to “trigger activators,” which are currently illegal in Minnesota.
In addition to this currently proposed legislation, Otto also supports taking the following actions to prevent incidents of gun violence: banning assault-type rifles like the AR-15 as well as high-capacity magazines, allowing law enforcement to use their discretion to prevent individuals with a history of domestic violence or other warning signs from obtaining firearms, extended waiting periods for gun purchases, and studying mass shootings and gun violence as a public health issue in order to develop the evidence necessary for gun safety laws to survive court challenges.
Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump could not be more different is so many ways there is not enough ink to describe them. But they do share one thing in common. Well, great hair, but besides that. Sanders and Trump, through their respective runs for President of the United States, each brought a group of people not formerly engaged much in politics into the process. Obviously, Sanders brought in people who supported him and Trump bought in people who supported him, but subsequently, Trump just kept on going, bringing in even more people who are so alarmed at his presidency that they have shown up and want to know what to do about it. Continue reading How the US Political System Works: Legislatures and assemblies
The premise is that you want to use cheap hot cocoa mix but you want it to be good. Chemistry can help you. Continue reading How to make hot cocoa. Using science.
I’ve never like the Star Spangled Banner. For one thing, it is a lie. The flag was still there, but the fort was utterly destroyed. It wasn’t “taken” by the British … they just bombed it all the way to Bolivia then sailed off. But it was a British Naval victory embodied in an American song as an American victory.
It is militaristic and bellicose. We celebrate bombs and war and fighting and death and destruction, and all that wrapped in fake news. Actual fake news.
Then there are those later verses. The American Revolution was fought, in part, to maintain the ongoing attempt to take all the Native American lands beyond the mountains, and to maintain slavery. The British were pro-Native, anti-Slavery, so the Patriots rose up and complained. Colonial Americans who expressed a more pro British view, which was also by default a more pro-Native and anti-slavery view, were brought into the town squares and tortured, sometimes killed. Their homes were destroyed and the books or pamphlets they wrote to support their views were burned unceremoniously.
When the War of 1812 happened, which was a land grab by the US, the British offered the slaves in the American South the opportunity to leave the US, and without condition be taken away by British boats. They were offered transport to wherever they wanted to go, and if they chose, to settle in new colonies in the Caribbean (the Merkins of Trinidad) or other British colonies (the “Black Refugees” of the War of 1812). They were also given the opportunity to fight the land grabbing Americans. Many did take up that offer. More tried but their attempts thwarted. Bad things happened to those who were caught.
In the Star Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key notes that “No refuge could save the hireling and slave, from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” There is more than one way to take that, but it is generally considered at least an admonishment to slaves who would seek freedom with the British, if not an out and out death threat.
So, the Star Spangled Banner celebrates the same old thing that had been going on since before the end of the Revolution. Senseless bellicose jingoism in favor of human bondage. So, screw the Star Spangled Banner. I want nothing to do with it.
Then, on top of that, it sucks as a song and is hard to sing.
Well, everything is hard to sing for me, but I mean even for actual singers.
And, now we have this other thing. If you question the Star Spangled Banner, like Colin Kaepernick did, you may be subject to attacks by White Supremacists such as Donald Trump. And, if you perform it in a way that is not in line with tradition, you are despised for that.
(I quickly add, some performances of the SSB are just plain stupid, like the one by Rosanne, who herself is a big giant asshole. And, for those of you who don’t know, for years singers were famous for very often forgetting the words at major sports games, but that seems to have stopped.)
There are two versions of the SSB, however, that sound pretty darn good. Both are hated by all the usual haters, so that makes them extra good. I have them for you here.
Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock:
Fergie at the2018 NBA All-Star game:
Anybody who does not like at least one of these two is not a patriot and needs to hustle on back to Communist Russia where they were born, dammit!!!
It appears that there never will come a time when we should do anything about the massacre of children or mass killings in general, according to the Republican leader: Continue reading Paul Ryan on the Massacre of Children
The idea is to protest how easily school shootings seem to happen, and how our country has not reacted to this problem ever, other than sending around a lot of thoughts and prayers.
You should know that the planning of this event has already been adulterated by either idiotic Americans or smart Russian spies. Watch carefully and pay attention… Continue reading Are you ready for a national school walkout?
That’s 13 Russians and 3 Russian entities.
The document filed in the US District Court for DC is HERE.
This appears to be a key but closely circumscribed moment in the Mueller investigation. No Americans are knowingly doing anything bad here. This is just the Russian campaign to manipulate social media etc. to shape an election, which we apparently believe they are continuing to do for 2018. This looks more or less like the end-game for that particular problem (though that does not mean that there won’t be more indictments.)
I have no idea, and I think this is generally the case, if an of these individuals or entities are in the US and/or can be actually arrested.
Some paraphrasing from the document, referring mainly to the first two counts, which are the big deal counts with all the jucy information in them, to give you an idea: Continue reading Mueller Indicts 13 people
When a school shooting happens, good people become horrified and many ask for better gun laws.
The answer that comes from the anti-safeguard lobby, those who mainly want guns to be unregulated with respect to ownership, safety, use, or disposition, is that such laws would not have stopped the tragedy that prompted the conversation.
They may be right (but see below). But they have missed the point. The problem is, the people who suddenly want to do something about senseless gun deaths have also missed the point. Continue reading Gun Control and School Shootings
Sometime after World War II, it became increasingly apparent that intelligence gathered by a growing number of US federal agencies needed to be part of the day to day policy decision making practice of the President. As the intelligence agencies themselves evolved (from the OSS to the CIA, in one lineage, for example) the idea of a Director of Central Intelligence, or later, Director of National Intelligence, would create an interface between all the agencies and the President also evolved.
I’ve been reading The President’s Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents by David Priess. I think I got turned on to the book because I saw the author on MSNBC and it sounded interesting. And it is. The book chronicles the early development and long term evolution of what we now know of as the President’s Daily Brief. Continue reading President’s Daily Brief
Neil de Grasse Tyson’s Merlin’s Tour of the Universe: A Skywatcher’s Guide to Everything from Mars and Quasars to Comets, Planets,Blue Moons, and Werewolves for Kindle for three bucks. Steven Kotler’s The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance on Kindle for two bucks. These prices are likely to change at any moment. (Upwards, no doubt.)
Donald Trump has ordered his military to stage a parade. This is not normal in America, but it is normal in dictatorships across the world and throughout history. Here are a few examples to give you a flavor. Continue reading Military Parades
Donald Trump is never going to be thrown out of office by Congress. Here is what is going to happen. In November, between 30 and 50 seats in the House of Representatives will switch from red to blue. (I’ll have a more detailed and regularly updated prediction on that later on, but that’s my rough guess for now). That will turn the House Democratic, and they will be able to impeach. But in the Senate, there simply are not enough seats up for grabs to turn the Senate super-Blue. There is a pretty good chance that the majority will be Democratic. Or maybe not. But you need a super majority to convict and thus toss out an impeached POTUS. Continue reading Impeachment Party
… I’m not sure. We will see if anyone takes a knee, or if Pink has a wardrobe malfunction. I’m sure there will be controversial ads (there is already a controversy about the bro-osity factor being so large during a #MeToo year). My wife actually knows several people who will be performing during half time, but that is not a big surprise because Minnesota is a very small town, dontcha know. Hey, Jimm Fallon stopped by at the Salzers, up in Champlin, for hot dish two nights ago. Anyway, I don’t expect the Wayzata (not pronounced way zatt ah) dance team to do anything tricky.
I will be keeping an eye on one thing, though… Continue reading This Year’s Super Bowl Controversy Will Be …