Others will think “Meh” (a collage)


 

To jangle a secret we don’t know,
can’t guarantee, the response could be any number;
indifference to anger, to wonderment, to joy.

We have to speak
a load of drivel,
disturbed disturbing visciousness,
futility and pain of his communication.
I didn’t like it.

Uncomfortable unsettled incomplete.
Decide.

I wouldn’t know how;
give me a scrap to match the sofa
with love
to death —
that’s now how I remember it.
Connection, different different different different different,
escape meaning,
religions you didn’t like.

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Conflicted

Dammit. I really think that thief at the bundy ranch is a larcenist, liar, and terrorist. And yet, and yet. The president has taken upon himself the authority, apparently unreviewed by anyone, to assassinate. 

I am fundamentally opposed to gun rights people who focus solely on liberty to the exclusion of the other fundamental necessities of a democracy, chiefly equality. And yet, and yet. The existing power structure in our society seems to be entrenched, oligarchic, and disturbingly secretive. 

I regard libertarians as adolescents, “objectivists as their mentally challenged cousins.. And yet, and yet. The “action” suggested by the progressive, socialist, communist activists whose thinking is closest to my own amounts to signs and petitions, and those seem absurd. Has the time really come for armaments? And are those armaments, as the bundy crowd seem to think, as crude and simplistic as guns? There are other classes of armament.

 


Innoveracy

Horace Dedieu (once again) expresses something so clearly it makes me believe I was thinking this all along. I don’t much like the term “innoveracy” though.

http://www.asymco.com/2014/04/16/innoveracy-misunderstanding-innovation/


What do you call somebody who steals from the public — welfare fraud, or pilfering social security checks or breaking into city hall and emptying the treasurer’s safe — and he gets caught, goes to trial, and loses. And this goes on for years over and over. 

One name for a guy like that is “Cliven Bundy”. He’s a thief who’s been grazing his cattle on public land for decades without paying  for it like everybody else does.

A great deal of land in the western US is owned by the federal government. How did that happen?

In the first decades of the 20th century farming started to become more mechanized. Huge amounts of grassland in the west were plowed, using tractors, and crops were planted. Other areas were overgrazed when ranchers put more cattle on the land than there was grass for them to eat. 

 

Then there was a drought. Droughts are cyclic events, of course, but this time the deep root systems of the plains grasses — root systems that held water and kept the soil intact — were gone. That part of the world can be pretty windy, and the soil blew away; it was a large-scale disaster with its own name: the Dust Bowl. 

The land became valueless, countless farms failed and banks foreclosed on the mortgages. Then the banks failed. That’s how the government came to own the land. The next step was that the government instituted, in the 1930s, programs like the WPA and the CCC (the “New Deal”) to restore the land with huge efforts planting trees and grass over thousands of square miles. 

Isolated individuals, “free” to be as shortsighted and greedy as they wished, destroyed the value of vast swaths of land. Collective effort, in this case in the form of government programs, saved both the people and the land. 

Now, who exactly are the “patriots” in the Bundy Ranch situation?

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B!ang

I am not a gun fancier or hobbyist. Neither am I particularly “anti-gun”. Didn’t grow up with guns, and never had any particular interest in them (after age 8 or so, of course). I’ve shot guns a few times, at targets, and didn’t find it enjoyable or interesting. People who want to own and shoot guns, in the US at least, have a valid point that such a right is in the Constitution. My reading of it is somewhat different; it seems to me to clearly state that the point is a “well regulated militia”, which most closely resembles the National Guard, in my opinion. But it’s not a major point of contention for me. 

What’s puzzling is the stance of gun hobbyists over the whole issue. Virtually without exception they’re snide, sarcastic, sneering, insulting, and argue (to the extent they argue at all) with only one approach: the straw man appeal. The straw man they construct is very often the one that “guns are not the problem, people are the problem”. This is so obviously, patently silly that I just don’t get it. Nor do I understand their whole position, which is only very rarely explained calmly and rationally. Do they really believe these points, or is this just another aspect of a straw man appeal? Do they believe:

  • The argument for some (any) control over firearms is not about people?

  • There is not a problem with gun violence in this country?

  • A gun is actually a defensive tool, in the absence of a game theory approach to any situation?

  • The threat of armed revolution with handguns and rifles is all that protects us from a tyrannical government?

  • An armed revolution here, which would demonstrate the democratic system does not work, would result in a less authoritarian government?

Do they believe these things? Or is the whole “movement” just an advertising- and PR-fueled campaign driven by the gun industry to increase their profits? 

 


iot

Zack learned on dognet that lobster bisque is very different from lobster biscuit; never mind the sound. 

Hazel checked catnet and said lobster is good but not as good as tuna.

There are many internets.


Nails with crosshairs

Most people have a natural tendency to want to use the tools they acquire, as captured in the adage “when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. From a new coffeemaker to a new computer to a new [tool of your choice here], there’s a combination of happiness and excitement and curiosity surrounding new tools. I think it’s probably human nature. 

This can be a problem when it comes to guns. 


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