I read the paper, old school I know. But Seattle is one of the few places that has an old-school, independent, local newspaper, which makes it worthwhile on several levels, and I like to do the crosswords on paper.
I carry a Swiss Army Knife. I always check a bag so I can have it with me when I am traveling. The one above is kind of grotty from living at the bottom of my bag.
I use the knife blades to slice open that ridiculously tough plastic packaging that almost every thing comes in, or as a letter opener, or (after washing) to cut cheese, fruit and other snacks. My second most common use is as a can or bottle opener. Followed by the screw driver…then the corkscrew. Sometimes the tweezers come in handy.
One does not use a semi-automatic machine gun to open a letter, slice an apple, open a can, tighten a screw , uncork a wine bottle, or take out a splinter. Most importantly: No one has ever shot up an elementary school with a Swiss army knife. To compare an AR-15 to a Swiss army knife is a false equivalence.
The federal judge who made that statement is both irresponsible and dangerously wrong.
This is the second time this week that a ridiculous false equivalence about guns has crossed my path. The first was in the comments of a thoughtful post by Fandango: Second Amendment Thoughts.
That one bothered me even more: the person compared owning a gun, favoring the AR-15, to having a smoke detector. Excuse me?
The same person said that more people are killed with knives than rifles. I looked it up. If you are talking about gun homicides, the number was 10, 372 of 15,318 homicides total in 2016, the year that Breitbart’s bad faith narrative is based on. A far cry from the 374 deaths stated to be from rifles that year. It needs to be noted that, in many cases, the type of gun is not specified in police reports so the 374 number is not accurate. That year the number of deaths from knives was 1500 or so (10% of the firearm homicides). Fact check by Snopes. The beloved AR-15 is sometimes counted as a rifle, but not always, it is often classed as a pistol. The harping on this incomplete data is a bad faith, diversionary tactic.
The ridiculous analogies and harping on a single incomplete data point are a deliberate deflection from the serious discussion that needs to occur about firearms. People who do this are manipulative, evil and immoral. You cannot trust what they say.
The culture of video games and TV programs is a player in this mythology as well. Guns are often portrayed as sexy and cool. They are not.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t have a problem with people who own a gun, learn how to use it, store it safely, teach their kids that it is very dangerous and not a toy, then hunt deer, or ducks, or something-so long as they eat what they kill. I grew up in a rural area and learned to use a firearm, but that was long ago. These days, if I were to shoot at a squirrel, crow or rabbit I might hit a neighbor. A risk I am not willing to take. We chose to not have firearms in the house when blessed with a mechanically adept child.
These false equivalences, comparing guns to useful things and safety measures, are extremely dangerous. They encourage people who aren’t going to bother to learn how to use the guns safely, or store them safely, to buy one without taking adequate safety measures. A gun is as far from a safety device as you can get.
Anyone who can seriously compare owning a gun to having a smoke detector, a dog, or a Swiss army knife clearly does not get it…or worse, gets it and doesn’t care how many people die (the definition of a sociopath).
The language is a little salty(?) but I think he makes several really good points.
It’s not that I’m old fashioned…I am but that’s not the point. I can usually understand new things even if I don’t necessarily agree with them. Crypto coin with its underlying block chain logic has bothered me. It seems to serve no real purpose and, as Mr. Maher points out, the amount of resources put to this use are terrifying. Imagine redeploying them to try and solve a problem like plastic in the environment.
This make-shift washing “line” is a pole laid across the corner of construction fencing. Often times migrant workers camp at or near the site where they work. Winnie-ther-Pooh and Piglet always make me smile…how about you?
A reflection on being human
A laundry line is something you see almost every where you go. In some ways it could be a symbol or metaphor for being human. We all need the shelter of clothing and sanitation.
I took this photo on my first trip to China, in the spring of 2014. Since then I have been to China about 10 times, to visit my son who lives there and works teaching English. I have always found the Chinese people to be friendly, welcoming and caring.
By the simple ceremony this evening honoring those who died of COVID-19. The simplicity of the prayers offered struck me more deeply than a long sermon would have done. I cried when the nurse sang Amazing Grace. I imagined how her patients would be comforted by her singing, which was beautiful.
I particularly was struck by how they kept political point scoring out of everything that was said. It really was about honoring those effected, not putting people down. This was real leadership.
Don’t worry, lots of people live in fascist, authoritarian regimes. Quality of life for regular people inevitably drops, but that takes time. (Time that lets the authoritarians cement their power as they take from poor and middle class and give it to those who will help them stay in power. No one really cares about those losers anyway.)
I am tired. My heart is sad and my nerves are frayed. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, even more than usual.
I find myself just over it, in terms of antipathy. I’m ready for a sane president who respects the constitution and the citizens of the USA, and that is sounding like that might not happen, through cheating and collusion. I’m not angry about it. I’m depressed.
It’s those pesky ballots, you see…the ones people use to vote. “If you get rid of the ballots…” Donald Trump said at one of his rallies last week. Let’s be clear: If you do that you get an autocracy, in this case a fascist autocracy.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8, King James Version of the Bible
I know I should have sought a Jewish passage for Justice Bader-Ginsberg, but that one jumped to mind.
Consider taking a small action
Don’t let this great woman become just another campaign rally event for someone who has no respect what-so-ever for the constitution and laws of our land.
In addition to voting in the election there are other ways to make your opinion known.
The current incumbent of the White House is again pushing against all that is even marginally decent. By announcing his proposed replacement for Justice Ginsberg before the dirt has had time to settle on her grave.
Please do not watch his obscene news conference. Instead spend the time honoring the truly great person Justice Ginsberg was. There are numerous movies and programs available to stream during that time. Please, don’t let her passing become just another campaign event for a petty dictator. Let the ratings reflect your priorities: honor and decency over a three-ring-circus.
My Pinterest feed has been popping up a lot of “prepping” articles lately, leading me to believe that a lot of people are very pessimistic right now. I understand that. But I think the “preppers” have the wrong end of the stick.
With the passing of RBG, the T-party has embarked on yet another power grab. It’s getting boring.
The US Constitution isn’t worth the paper it’s written on anymore.
Give up protesting, kids, the first amendment** is toast at this point. Also, protesting just gives the T-Party a target, and attention, for reprehensible behavior. But, also…
The real risks right now are fiscal. But don’t panic, prepare.
Vote…and prepare for a depression
Medical expenses are no joke, and medical insurance is not cheap.
The Affordable Car Act is gone, give it up. There is no way to save it. If the Senate flips and Joe Biden is elected president, there might be a new plan, maybe even a better one, but don’t hold your breath. If the senate doesn’t flip, forget it. The Republicans haven’t ever done anything meaningful on health care and they won’t start now.
We all need to take stock of our finances and figure out how to manage without health insurance if you get COVID (or anything else) and cannot work. COBRA insurance costs an arm and a leg, and paying for it may mean some serious sacrifices if you have not accrued some savings before hand.
Remember that POTUS has already signed an executive order that de-funds Medicare and Social Security until the end of the year. The promise to make that permanent means that NOW is the time to get your finances in order, before the payments stop.
Figure out how you will manage without Medicare and Social Security. If you rely on the Affordable Care Act, figure out how you will either manage without health insurance or pay the increased costs.
Spending money stocking up on beans and ammo* may not be the best use for it. A better idea is to make sure to have money on hand. A massive pile of bullets or beans won’t help you pay medical bills…And if you don’t pay those you may wind up on the streets. And those streets are already full of people who went that way before you. The best shopping carts are gone. (That is a reference to an old Dilbert cartoon.)
It also means not borrowing more and paying down any debt you have, maybe giving up on a few luxuries like high price cable, Disney or Netflix.
We went down to one, paid-off, older car a couple of years ago. Savings on insurance alone were big. Maybe you could live in a more modest house…that could save a bundle. I’m putting off things like new carpets (my current one is about 40 years old) and my rummage sale wardrobe is holding up quite well. My husband likely never will finish replacing our fence, but we saved $20 grand over having it done by a contractor, and the dogs aren’t really inclined to roam…
Think through your medical choices and get your will in order
Like the teachers who responsibly made out their wills as they were being forced back to work, we all need to think about how we will manage.
While I plan to keep hiding away in the basement, wearing a mask when I do go out, and generally avoiding people to prevent getting sick (or making others sick), I have already decided that I do not plan to seek any treatment if I do get very sick, from COVID or cancer, or what-ever, in hopes that there will be something left for my son to inherit.
The younger generation is at a tremendous disadvantage: the plethora of jobs created recently are pretty much crap, like serving beer, delivering Amazon packages, and driving Ubers, with low pay and no benefits.
I do sometimes wonder
Will The Economy (as measured by stock indices) eventually reflect what’s going on in our homes?
*Most of the articles on “prepping” are very thinly veiled marketing to get you to spend (waste) a bunch of money so the authors will get rich.
**Second amendment folks shouldn’t get too cocky: they will be next.