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    • The Cruelty and Stupidity Of Trumpian Homelessness Rhetoric
      From a study by his officials: In the report, “The State of Homelessness in America,” even shelters get some of the blame for increasing the number of people who are homeless.The argument: Some people would be able to find their own housing if they were turned away from shelters. “While shelters play an extremely important role […]
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Why hasn’t anyone asked…

… why uber rich campaign donors don’t pay their taxes with that campaign money?

Take Sheldon Adelson, please.

Sheldon has pledged $100,000,000 to help Romney’s campaign. Sheldon is a pro-Israel supporter who thinks that Israel has fallen apart since 2008 because of something the Obama administration has done.

Not true. Israel is falling apart because the more powerful Israeli political parties have been making crazy deals with the super ultra orthodox Jews in order to form a ruling coalition. These religious Jews on steroids don’t like women to sing in public and refuse to put their time in with the Israeli Defense Force. They’ve become the Israeli version of the American quiverful movement. Yeah, wrap your head around that concept. That would be like Obama and Romney making nice to Michelle Duggar and her friends. I’m sorry, the Duggars don’t have friendships, they have fellowships. Different concept altogether. You stick with your friends through thick and thin, but you can dump your fellows whenever their womenfolk raise their hemlines to the bottom of their kneecaps or cut their hair. I can assure you that the Duggars would drop their fellows in the blink of an eye if any of them didn’t adhere to their strict lifestyle choices.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, in the US, you might see the political parties not being quite so enthusiastic about supporting women’s rights to make her own reproductive decisions or even get a decent job in the little Depression. Women might be encouraged to get married or stay home instead of work or poverty might be blamed on women refusing to marry. Have we seen anything like that in the NYTimes?

In America, the effect is more diffuse. In Israel, it’s a lot more obvious because it’s a much smaller country. In Israel, your minister of health can refuse to hand an award to the woman who won it because the Jewish fundies might have a fit. Women might be discouraged from speaking in public. Or singing. You could have men in the IDF refusing to serve with women. You could have men spitting on little girls for not dressing modestly. The Jewish fundies also reproduce like rabbits. And because their numbers are increasing disproportionately in a country that can’t dilute their political strength, the other parties are having an increasingly difficult time working with them.

In THIS country, it is possible to dilute the fundie strength but we won’t for some reason. Yes, we still cling to the concept that the Duggaresque evangelical patriarchalists are admirable for their piety and respected because they hide their anti-everyoneelseism behind their worship of a Judeo-Christian diety (who biblical scholars know is an amalgamation of mesopotamian and canaanite deities. And let’s not even get started on Noah’s flood). We’re all supposed to feel guilty and dirty because we can’t live up to their vision of heavenly perfection and rely entirely on our own, while the Duggars themselves live in a socialist microcosm of their own making. And yet, they get a disproportionate amount of attention. You’d think the whole mid section of the country is going quiverful even as many quiverful women are getting the hell out of Dodge. It’s just not true that Americans are craving 12-20 children and summers without shorts or bathing suits. If anything, Americans, especially young Americans are turning away from fundamentalism and religion. How ya’ going to keep’em down on the farm after they’ve seen the Internet?

The Duggars seem to represent a certain mindset of smug, condescending selfishness that that is enviable. There is no shame in Duggaresque selfishness because they are covered by god. They sure seem self-sufficient. I’m sure the Discovery Channel pays them nothing {{eyes rolling}}. And because they are so insular with their friends, er, fellows, and community, it looks like they are in a different world even if they live in America. In their world, they don’t drive down roads that are paid by Arkansans or Americans. Those are Duggar roads. And they don’t get medical care or goods and services from people who were educated in public schools. Those people just pop up out of nowhere and do things for the Duggars when they’re needed. They’re like the people who inhabit the Necessary Room at Hogwarts. There when they’re needed, gone when they’re not. They don’t really exist with needs of their own. So the Duggars don’t have to worry about the effect of their anti-tax politics are on those non-existent people.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, Sheldon Adelson. So, Sheldon thinks that Mitt is going to do a better job of protecting and defending and carrying out Israeli foreign policy here in the US than Obama. I’ve always wondered about politicians who represent Israel in government. I mean, is that legal? Don’t they take an oath to defend the US and its constitution and antiquated notions like that? And besides, don’t we already do enough for Israel? We’re already kinda on the hook for defending it against its enemies. We’d turn any country that tried to nuke Israel into a glass parking lot. Isn’t that understood and hasn’t it been since people Obama and my age were little kids?

So, what more does Sheldon want? Says Sheldon:

Adelson, like other members of his family, had been a Democrat. But, as his wealth grew, he began to favor tax-averse Republican economic policies. He argued to an associate recently, “Why is it fair that I should be paying a higher percentage of taxes than anyone else?” Three years ago, at an event in Washington, D.C., celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Adelson, who was being honored that evening, told the audience about the time he had spent with William Bush, the brother of George H. W. Bush, during the 1988 election. “He explained to me what Republicanism was all about . . . so I got to learn about it and I switched immediately!” Adelson said. But it was only after he went to war against the union that he became so partisan. He began donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican National State Election Committee.

Oo! Oo! Sheldon I have the answer to your question about why taxes should be coming out of your hide. It’s because that’s where the money is! You’re sitting on it. You could pay people more but it seems like you don’t like doing that and you really don’t like unions. You as an individual can’t spend all the billions of dollars you have on yourself. It’s just not possible. And you didn’t earn all that cash. You just happen to be the one collecting it.

So it doesn’t really have anything to do with Israel. But make no mistake, Sheldon is a lot like the American quiverful evangelicals. He also doesn’t recognize the people around him as being necessary. They just come and go, they serve him things and whisk those things away. They’re silent and efficient.

When Sheldon makes a donation to a Republican’s campaign, it never occurs to him that that $100,000,000 might be better spent making sure the silent and efficient ones can get to work and feed their families so they can continue to wait on him.

$100,000,000 could buy a lot of textbooks, math teachers and hot school lunches, vaccinations, tooth fillings and asthma medications, pothole patches, bridge repairs and policemen. But Sheldon doesn’t want to share with people who are not his fellows. He can’t control them.

He’d rather give that money to politicians.

**************************

Sarah Silverman has an offer Sheldon can’t refuse:

Um, don’t give your money to Obama either, Sheldon. Just pay your f^&*ing taxes. That’s all we ask.

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Politicizing gun control? Are you kidding me??

This is more dangerous and political than….

Update: Here’s a new article in the NYTimes about the candidates’ reluctance to talk about gun control.  What I get from this is that both candidates think they have more to lose from pissing off the gun nuts than half of the voters in this country.

It’s the biggest slap in the face to women who have been bumped down to second class status by the relentless discussion of personal reproductive matters, as well as dismissive of anyone who cares about unregulated access to guns and ammunition.  Do voters have ANY say at all in this country anymore about what is important to them?

I caught up with the Daily Show this morning and did you know that if we want to discuss regulating access to guns, even just sloooooooowing the process down so that murderous paranoid psychotics can’t get their hands on them without raising suspicion, that we are “politicizing” gun control?

Yep, not only that but it’s an “unpopular” position for a candidate to take.  Really? And how do we know it’s unpopular if no one is allowed to discuss it publicly?  Can we take a vote on that?

The New York Times is a master of understatement on the issue:

Responding to the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo., Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York,called on the presidential nominees Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to come up with a comprehensive gun control policy.

That might require political courage. Despite feelings of outrage over the horrific loss of life from shootings like the one on Friday, support for gun control has declined. Can a politician, particularly a presidential candidate, buck conventional wisdom and show leadership by calling for an assault weapons ban, even if it might not be popular?

Ok, let me put it this way.  The President is supposed to be a leader.  Leaders lead.  That means they persuade people to do things they might not otherwise do. So, if the presidential candidates do not want to talk about how families’ lives and finances have been ruined as a result of free access to guns no matter how crazy the buyer is, because it *might* make them unpopular, then maybe they should find another profession.  They could become accountants or ceramic artists where leadership on public matters is not a desired characteristic.

But wait!  There’s more.

While it is completely unacceptable for us to discuss gun control because congress is exhausted by the subject and the issue is now “settled”, it is perfectly fine to discuss and find ways to regulate lady parts because that is NOT settled, even after 50 years when we all thought it was.

So, to recap: Gun control- unpopular, exhausting subject that is so five minutes ago.

Your Reproductive Organs- perpetually pleasing topic of conversation, politically popular, never goes out of style, DESPERATELY IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE REGULATION!

this. These are not at all dangerous or political.

Guns- kill human beings with jobs, responsibilities, lovers, children, parents and friends.

Your Reproductive Organ- May contain human beings that might develop all the characteristics of a gun victim.  Or it may not.  Or may be waiting for a player to be named later.  The people that potential human touches is limited to one- the bearer.

I don’t know about you but I think we could all stand to hear a lot less about the latter and a whole lot more on the former.  Gun control needs to get as much attention as possible.  You can call it politicizing if you like, like I give a f^&*.

I call it self-preservation, maturity and common sense.

We’ve got our priorities all wrong if it is so outre to talk about how gun access has changed people’s lives permanently and destroyed their futures but have verbal diarrhea every damn day about whether or not some coed should have unfettered access to Lo-Ovral.   There’s something very wrong, tribal and unmodern with American society today if we think that somehow it’s OK to treat half the population as cattle that needs to be herded but the wannabee warriors in the crowd are allowed to be as violent as possible and no one is supposed to talk about these inconsistencies.

It’s sick.

Will someone please tell me where the women’s orgs are?  Why they f^&* are we putting up with this s^&* during election season and letting the candidates get away with it?  This is outrageous.  No piece of legislation on reproductive rights should go to the floor of any legislative body without a companion piece of legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of crazy people.

Let’s make a deal: We’ll stop politicizing gun control when politicians stop politicizing our vaginas.

******************************

Tana French, the only mystery/thriller writer I read, has a new book featuring more of her characters from her Dublin murder squad.  The new title is Broken Harbor.  I love the way French writes.  Her characters are vivid and deep, the dialogue snappy and sharp.  It’s hard not to like some of these people, even the flawed ones.

Three days until my Audible credits renew.  I can barely stand it.  If you’re looking for a good beach read that is not brainless chick lit and interested in diving into mystery a la French, start with In the Woods.

******************************

Totally off topic, this is Jack Van Impe and his dotty wife Rexella talking about The Rapture.  These two are very clever.  It feels like Van Impe uses rapid fire scripture citations to invoke some kind of trance state.  There are people out there who think he has this stuff in instant access memory.  I think he’s either reading it from the teleprompter or listening to the bluetooth in his ear.  Or maybe he does have it all memorized because he’s done this schtick for so long.  But to me, I hear “Oh, we got trouble, right here in River City” playing music in the background.

So, here’s Trouble in River City.  Compare and contrast:

David Brooks is in poor taste

He doesn’t appear to possess empathy or good manners.  Nor does he know when it’s best to say nothing at all.  He was not brought up well.  His parents failed us.

Mostly, he speaks for a whole stratum (I hesitate to call it “class”) of people who pay him to rationalize their stinginess to the “help” and make excuses for them in mainstream publications and TV for not wanting to be in any way responsible for their fellow Americans.

I find his presence as the spokesperson for the arrogant rich to be sickening and offensive to the rest of us. Judging from the way Brooks moralizes, one would have expected him to aspire to a career that benefitted humanity.  Alas, this is not the case.  Those lines of work do not pay well.

I am astonished at how well Brooks is paid for writing drivel a couple of times a week.  Why, I do that on a daily basis and get paid nothing at all.

His tenure at the New York Times is making Judy Miller look good.

Oh, if we could only afford the opera…

David Brooks’ world: Let all the worms that lurk in the mud hatch out

Ashley Moser, age 25

The shooting in Aurora, Colorado and its aftereffects, appear to be a culmination of all of the ways we Americans have let each other down in the past 30 years.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Ashley Moser: If there was a poster child for everything that has gone wrong in America since Richard Nixon resigned, Ashley would have to be it.

Ashley is 25 years old.  Her father died recently from leukemia.  His illness wiped out the family’s financial resources.  He died penniless.  Ashley is a single mother, it’s unclear if she is divorced or ever married.  But the “little Depression” has been hard on families who struggle to make ends meet and are broken up by distance when one parent has to make a living in another location and can’t take the whole family.  It’s a common situation these days and marriage is no safeguard against it.  She was living with her parents but times got tough and when her father died, she had to move in with her aunt.

She’s a student.  She is also unemployed.  She had applied to and was accepted into a nursing program.  She was living on student loans.  LOANS, not grants.  She had a six year old daughter who she took to the movie with her.  Been there, done that, waiting with the kid for the latest book in the Harry Potter series at the local bookstore at 12am, surrounded by a store full of Hermione Grangers and Draco Malfoys.  Veronica Moser-Sullivan, aged 6, was the youngest victim.  She died at the scene.

Ashley was shot in the neck and the abdomen and is in critical condition.  Her doctors say she will suffer some paralysis but may have the use of her hands.  There’s a bullet in her head that hasn’t been removed yet. She is pregnant.

Because she is unemployed and uninsured, she is on medicaid. If she weren’t horribly injured at the moment and didn’t have the nation’s sympathy, it’s likely that she’d be shamed by these very same people who would be calling her a deadbeat leech on the American taxpayer.  She’d be treated with more dignity and respect in Norway but she had the misfortune to not be Norwegian during these last critical years of her life. That’s where single motherhood is no big deal, children are valued and she wouldn’t be struggling to live on student loans while she got her life together and was able to contribute to society, which should be the *only* definition of success, other than good parenthood, that gets admiration and respect.

It is unclear what her prospects, medical expenses or living arrangements will be once she is released from the hospital, if she is released. But whatever they are, it is likely that her future wages will be garnished to pay back her student loans.  Otherwise, it would be irresponsible to let this kind of moral hazard stand and wouldn’t be teaching Ashley a valuable lesson.

Her relatives had to tell her about her daughter on Saturday night.  She didn’t take it well and screamed that she wanted to die.

In all likelihood, if she *does* look like she is about to die, some Christian group will petition the state for guardianship of her unborn baby, intending to keep her on life support until the delivery.  Or, she may he on the brink of death without an abortion and they may interfere at that point.  Or, because she is on Medicaid, she will have to pay for a lifesaving and possibly much more expensive high risk abortion herself.  If it’s a “partial birth abortion”, there might not be any way to do it in the state of Colorado.  The scenarios that play out here sound like an updated version of Stephen King’s Misery crossed with Never Let Me Go.  Her family should have kept this information out of the media but it’s too late now.  The cat’s out of the bag and the evangelicals are no doubt already winding up for the prayer circle of all prayer circles, sending her messages about how her lifelong paralysis happened for a reason and god wanted Veronica for his newest angel but it’s a miracle that god has blessed her with a precious replacement!  As if children are swappable objects.  If it were up to me, I would leave life and death decisions up to Ashley and her doctors.  Maybe we should ask Michael Schiavo how that kind of thing works out.

The mass murderer, James Holmes, is apparently a very disturbed individual.  He’s not unlike many other disturbed mass murderers.  Friends and family notice that there is a personality change or he starts to behave strangely but there’s not a whole lot of things parents can do.  After all, the kid is an adult now.  The owner of a gun club says that Holmes left messages on his company’s voice mail and that his voice made him very uneasy.  He thanks god he didn’t have to deal with him, probably because guns are big business in America and it would have been hard to turn him away.

Not much is known about whether or not Holmes was treated for any psychological problems. It’s hard to know when science geeks have crossed the line mentally.  Many a time I have heard, “You know, so and so is acting really weird. He gives me the willies.  If anyone here were to go postal, it would be him.”  “Yeah, but he’s great in the lab! Fricking brilliant. His boss would be lost without him.” (True story about a gun “enthusiast” I used to work with many years ago.) His University probably has a counseling office but in America these days, it’s almost unheard of to commit people.  We usually just let them fall to their natural level, as David Brooks might say, and let them live on the streets. Holmes will probably get better mental health care now that he’s in prison or at the facility for the criminally insane.  For sure, he should never be free again, but will he be turned over to an institution run by a for profit company?

Graduate students are used to working conditions that are unusual.  I’ve heard it said that they have a lot of flexibility in their work.  They can work any 80 hours of the week they want.  It’s unclear if his work schedule contributed to his mental state but we should consider that Wall Street traders and analysts Holmes’ age work about 80 hours a week without a break for a couple of years and they nearly blew up the world, so, you know, there’s that.  His stipend, no matter how much the media makes of it, was probably less than minimum wage for the hours he would have been expected to work and was not enough to live on in the Denver area.  I’ve had a kid who worked in Denver as a chef for a couple of years.  They didn’t pay her enough.  She had to move.  She loves Denver.  Denver wages?  Ehhhhh, not so much.

Holmes ended up in Denver at graduate school because after earning a master’s in Neuroscience in 2010, he couldn’t find a job.  That’s not really all that unusual for scientists these days, including yours truly and everyone I’ve ever worked with.  A master’s is plenty sufficient for anything industrial research could throw at him but without experience, even young, cheap labor can’t find work.  Neither can older, experienced labor.  I find that a lot of employers want experienced labor, they just don’t want to pay for it.  So, Holmes had to go back to graduate school.  He probably would have been better off learning plumbing or joining the navy.  At least the military will help you pay your student loans.

This is not to say that I feel any kind of compassion for James Holmes the mass murderer.  But I do feel sorry for colleagues of James Holmes who are in a similar economic situation through the actions of a bunch of financiers on Wall Street who thought mergers and acquisitions of research companies in the last two decades was a sweet way to make loads of money and big bonuses.  Too bad it ruined research.

Holmes was able to order many rounds of ammunition online.  He also ordered an urban assault vest.  Unlike buying birth control, there is no conscience rule that would allow someone who is using common sense to stop a graduate student like James Holmes from buying combat equipment.  No one was allowed to say, “Where are you headed, buddy? Afghanistan?  Iraq?  Because I don’t think you need any of that stuff in Aurora.  Whatever you’re planning, I’m agin’ it.  No sale for you.”

Let’s think about that for a second.  It is harder for Ashley Moser to buy Plan B in the very same places where James Holmes could buy his own arsenal.  Enough weaponry to mow down a theater?  As long as you have a credit card, not a problem. No questions asked.   A couple of pills of early intervention to prevent a mistake?  Everyone you don’t know has an opinion and a hoop you must jump through.  Sure, the conscience rule executive order has been modified but whose going enforce it?  In a couple of years, Sasha and Malia will be able to buy their own Glocks but long after they’ve given up bubble gum, they will still have problems locating a pharmacist who will sell Plan B to them from behind the counter.

And because this is an election year and we must not piss off the young, white males in western states who might vote, Barack Obama sees no reason why he should develop any policies to address the issue of unfettered access to guns.  He also sees no need to promote an assault weapons ban that Bill Clinton put in place during his terms but went out of fashion during the Bush years.

I wonder if Ashley Moser knows this.  I hear Obama has been visiting the victims.  There’s an outpouring of support for Ashley right now, including a fundraiser.  But in a couple of months, America will forget about Ashley and she’ll have to navigate the social welfare system on her own.  For what it’s worth, I think a fundraiser should never be necessary for Ashley or others like her.  She, and all of the other Ashleys and Alexes, deserves a nation’s support, not charity or pity or insensitive moralizing.  She needed her country to be behind her in the last couple of years.  We’d better not fail her in the years to come.

So, there you go.

Worms everywhere.

Update: Katiebird says there is a second family that will be ruined by this shooting through no fault of their own.  Caleb Medley was shot in the eye and is in a medically induced coma.  His medical bills are expected to top $2 million, which is $2 million *less* than what David Brooks paid for his new house.  Caleb’s wife is on a separate floor of the hospital ready to give birth.

Of course, according to David Brooks, if the Medley’s end up broke, disabled and must remain deliberately impoverished in order to qualify for the bare modicum of subsistence medical care that Medicaid provides, at least we can console ourselves that the nation didn’t “commit sociology” to rescue any Americans who were collateral damage of a disturbed guy who just happened to use an easily available gun on their bodies.

If buying a gun in Texas were as easy as getting an abortion

Imagine the legislation…

The buyer would have to go to an approved gun dispensary.  The dimensions of the dispensary would be strictly regulated and the dispensary might end up in a seedy part of town in an unmarked building.  The gun dispensary owner would not be allowed to advertise. Because the regulations would be difficult to meet, there would be less than a handful of dispensaries legally licensed to sell firearms.  A person from Amarillo might have to drive to Galveston to get one.

The free speech rights of anti-gun protestors would be protected.  Prospective gun buyers would not be shielded from protestors petitioning or discouraging the buyer from purchasing a gun as long as the protestors do not approach within a certain number of feet from the buyer and refrain from touching the buyer.

It would be illegal for anyone to refer the buyer to a gun dispensary. However, it would not be illegal for an anti-gun organization to masquerade as a gun dispensary for the purposes of shaming the prospective buyer or talking him or her out of buying a gun.  No exceptions to this advice rule would be made for hunters or other people who may have a specific use for guns that does not include the potential for shooting people.

The gun dispensary owner would need to provide proof of education in the types and uses of firearms.  A degree from an accredited university would be the only proof accepted.  He or she would need to be licensed for each type of firearm.  An assault weapons ban might mean that the buyer would have to travel to one of the few places in the country that sells them to get one.

Prospective buyers would be required to undergo mandatory counseling on the use and effect of firearms.  The buyer would not be able to opt out of this counseling.  If the buyer still wants to buy a gun after the counseling, he or she would need to sign a form certifying that they are aware of the dangers of the use of firearms and that using them may cause lifelong emotional damage and sexual impotence to the user.

During the counseling session, the seller will show the buyer photographs of gun shot victims.  The victims will be shown with their heads blown off and their bellies eviscerated.  The emotional anguish of gunshot victims’ families will also be shown in visual and auditory form.  No compensatory images of poor hunters feeding their families will be permitted.  The audio and video portion of the presentation must be intrusive enough to be unavoidable to the prospective buyer.

After the presentation, the gun seller will read the consent form to the buyer again and ask the buyer to affirm that they are aware of all of the dangers associated with the purchase of a gun.  The seller will also be required to discuss alternatives to firearms, such as compound bows, boomerangs, snares and vegetarianism.  There will be an emphasis on vegetarianism to ensure that the teachings of certain religions are promoted with the acquiescence of the state.  Adherence to Hindu or other plant based religions would not be necessary for the buyer, only recognition and understanding of the deep ethical philosophy behind religious vegetarianism.

No exceptions would be made to save the health or life of the buyer.  Medical reasons for hunting, such as a prescribed Caveman Diet to prevent intestinal inflammation of a debilitating nature due to celiac disease, or the existence of a restraining order from a abusive spouse, would not be acceptable excuses for failing to attend the mandatory counseling session or meeting all of the other requirements before obtaining the gun.

There will be a mandatory 72 hour waiting period to give the buyer an opportunity to change his or her mind.

It would be illegal for the counseling to take place over the phone or the internet.

After the waiting period is complete, the buyer would be required to return to the gun dispensary for the mandatory rectal examination of the prostate with an ultrasound device.  The purpose of this examination is to determine the state of the prostate prior to gun purchase and to assure that the buyer understands the risk to his sexual health.  A similar examination will be made of a woman’s rectum for no good reason but if she is engaged in buying a gun, she has already given her consent to an anal probe.

After this examination, the gun buyer would be allowed to purchase the gun and go on his or her merry way, provided walking is still possible.

The above regulations would not be considered intrusive or burdensome to your 2nd amendment right to bear arms.

Two proposals for solving the gun problem

The issue appears to be how do we keep guns out of the hands of psychotic individuals, thus protecting our rights to see silly superhero movies at midnight in our costumes (because there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, Rocky Horror cultists have been doing it for decades without incident), while maintaining conservatives’ rights to arm themselves to the teeth for protection (against what, I don’t know, but they need them their guns).

Here is my first proposal:

1.) Since conservative states are so into profiling people for a.) being here illegally, b.) looking like an islamofascist terrorist or c.) walking and driving while black, they should be onboard with the idea of profiling people who appear to be buying a greater than average number of guns and ammo in a short period of time.  We’ve seen that a lot of these mass murders are committed by males who are relatively young.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some kind of brain development problem that leads to a transient psychotic episode for some individuals.  This episode may be exacerbated by propaganda, stress or isolation.  Someone with a better psych background than I have can jump in here but there does appear to be a pattern.  It seems like it should be possible to identify the parameters that should get our attention and develop a model.  Then, when a person who fits this model tries to buy additional guns, he should be asked to submit to an assessment of mental fitness.  Maybe an MMPI followed by analysis and a meeting with a mental health professional.  If the individual fails the assessment, he should be referred to a treatment center before he can get hold of a killing device.  This is fair to everyone, I think, especially for the person whose mental state is deteriorating.

How could a 2nd amendment fanboy possibly object to this?  Presumably, mass murderers getting their hands on enough artillery to kill a village ruins 2nd amendment rights for everyone.

But assuming there are states that do object, let’s go to proposal 2:

2.) Secede.

No, I’m not kidding.  The grown ups of the United States have been way too permissive about anti-tax freaks, ignorance in the science classroom and a 40 year old attack on reproductive rights.  The probability of more mass murders of innocent adults and children without even a minimum of effort to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people is really the last straw.  What we have are a bunch of southern states that are passive-aggressively still fighting the Civil War and a handful of western states that are full of anti-social rugged individualists who are acting like spoiled adolescents on a power trip.  I don’t think the rest of us should have to put up with this shit, frankly.

Clearly, what we have here is a strangled cry for independence and we need to learn to let go. Give them a time out.  Let them find out what it’s like to be their own country in the world. You know, patrol their own borders, negotiate their own trade deals, maintain their own infrastructure, support their own military, regulate their own economy and create their own justice system. The rest of the country has not given the south and the west an opportunity to grow up and mature.  We would be irresponsible if we didn’t allow them to find their own way in life and develop self-esteem by actually earning it.  They shouldn’t be able to coast in the world by throwing around the word American.  If they can’t be trusted to honor that word, let them find a new one to describe themselves.  Confederate was proposed a century and a half ago.  Ok, go with it but just Go!

We could give the reasonable people who live in these states incentives to relocate and then to the rest, sayonara.  Have a nice life.  Enjoy your unregulated assault weapons to your heart’s content.  The added benefit is that the more populated, modern and progressive states will finally have some input into politics for once.  PLUS, we northern states won’t have to send our hard earned taxes to fund the freeloader southern states’ welfare programs, like roads and bridges and basic government services.

I’m tired of being treated like a sucker by the conservative assholes from both parties who represent these states.  It’s time we got tough with these out of control brats.  Get them out of the union and concentrate the Americans who want to go forward into the future into a new America.  The strength of the social conservative in the this new American will be diluted and they’ll just have to go along for the ride in a country that has a stronger social welfare state, more regulation of banks and businesses and fewer guns in the hands of the disturbed.  It’s going to be tough for them to adjust to a fairer, more egalitarian, safer country but with therapy, provided by their government administered health insurance program, they’ll get over it quickly enough.

Conservatives have gone too far.  It’s time we put our foot down and tell them they can fight us all they want, they will not win.  If they don’t like it, there’s the door.  We are fed up with having to live with their selfish demands and their tantrums.  Let’s separate, file for divorce and get on with our lives.

The Breivik Connection: is this a copy cat killing?

Update: There are new facts about the shooter that make it sound like he could be following Breivik’s example.  These details are chilling.  At around midnight, his neighbors heard some very loud techno music coming from his apartment.  One of the downstairs neighbors went up to ask him to turn it down.  Here’s what happened:

Kaitlyn Fonzi, a 20-year-old biology student at University of Colorado Denver, lives in an apartment below Holmes.

Around midnight, Fonzi said she heard techno music blasting from Holmes apartment. She went upstairs and knocked on the door. When no one answered, she put her hand on the door knob and realized the door was unlocked.

Fonzi decided not to go inside the apartment.

The music turned off at almost exactly 1 a.m., Fonzi said.

Kaitlyn had a narrow escape last night because if she had entered that apartment, she would have been blown up.  The apartment is booby trapped.  The booby trap is so complicated that the police haven’t figured out how to disarm it yet.

In Breivik’s case, he preceded his shooting spree on the island by blowing up some government buildings in Oslo first.  Then, while the police were dealing with that, he went on to part two of his massacre at the teen retreat on Utoya.

James Holmes had a similar plan,  Play really loud music, lure the neighbor up to the apartment, leave the door ajar so the neighbor could trip the mechanism and blow up the building.  I have no idea what he used as explosives but science labs are full of all kinds of stuff and if you’re motivated enough, you can make your own.

While the police were supposed to be distracted by the explosion, he goes on a rampage in a crowded movie theater that people couldn’t get out of easily.  It sounds like it was stadium seating which would had made it like one of those carnival shooting games with the tiers of ducks.  Someone correct me if I’m wrong about this theater.

One other thing of interest: He started graduate school in June 2011 and it sounds like he was going through some kind of personality problem in his early 20s.  He was an honors student, Phi Beta Kappa, had a masters in neuroscience and couldn’t find a job. Holmes is by all accounts very intelligent but he was failing his comprehensive exams in the last year.

It may all be coincidence but the way both Breivik and Holmes carried out their massacres seem eerily similar and the timing is too convenient being only 2 days before the one year anniversary of Breivik’s massacre.

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The similarities are striking. Guy dressed in a uniform, in this case camo, calmly walks into a closed area that is difficult to escape and opens fire on innocent young adults and children. The death toll might be low at this point but the number of injured, 59, is unreal.

The shooter has multiple weapons. He’s well prepared to take out as many people as he can. He’s cool and methodical. Afterwards, he waits for police and does not resist arrest.

And it all takes place two days short of the one year anniversary when Andrew Brevik did the same thing at a teen retreat on a tiny island in Norway.

I’m not typically the kind of person who freaks out about how we’re all going to die, but if one troubled person in a land full of guns gets the notion that this action will somehow prove something to the world, maybe it would be a good idea for theaters, summer camps and amusement parks to be extra vigilant this week end.

I’d love to be proven wrong, silly and crazy for even suggesting this, but you know, we live in interesting times.