Posts Tagged With: Gun violence

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 35 JoJo 0005 (June 19, 2016)

 

“When we were young with our peers about us, we dreamed and hoped for that which we had not yet experienced. Now in our old age, we dream and hope for one last chance at that which we will soon no longer have. Symmetry is a beautiful thing.”
Baba Giufa

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

On Saturday, Dick suggested a drive through an area of the foothills I had not visited before. I welcomed the diversion because I had become desperately bored spending my days in the Golden Hills without even HRM’s antics to divert me. Also, spending hours alone allowed me the time to pathologically dwell on my health problems, every twinge a creeping threat every small pain a message of more to come.

We set off down Latrobe Road.  Latrobe, as the main rail head 150 years ago, used to be the center of things in the area  until new roads and rail lines bypassed it. Now all that remains is a few stores and a gas station.
IMG_1939

I always liked this drive. As I watched the lonesome beauty of the oak-studded foothills pass by, I remembered long ago stopping by the side of a road like this, sneaking through the fence and climbing to the top of some gold carpeted hill. We lay in the shade of an oak tree drinking wine, eating some bread and cheese and smoking a joint. Later, beneath a cloudless sky, we made love. I was not very good at it. Not the drinking of the wine or eating the cheese, I was always good at those. Over the years, I learned the importance of pleasing your partner. It doesn’t just happen because you are in love or whatever. It no longer matters now, alas.

We turned east further into the foothills of Amador County and passed through some tiny hamlets I had never seen before.
IMG_1940
Small wineries began to appear here and there some with elegant restaurants attached.
IMG_1943

The wine region did not consist of large valleys filled with vineyards like in Napa, or the Dordogne or the rolling hills of Tuscany, but looked more like the vineyards of the Apennines — the crossing of a pine covered ridge into a tiny valley with a few vineyards then over the next ridge to another valley and more vineyards.

IMG_1946
Eventually, we arrived our destination, the town of El Dorado and a one-time biker bar now tourist attraction for aging ex-bikers named Poor Red’s. Poor Red’s was originally built as a weigh station for Wells Fargo. It was called Kelly’s Bar from 1927 until around 1945. A guy named “Poor Red” won the bar in a game of dice, and he and his wife “Rich Opal” took it over soon after. They ran it for many years until recently when Poor Red and Rich Opal were convicted of tax evasion. They now are serving time in prison and a new owner runs the place. The Gold Cadillac cocktail was invented here and the place is reputed to be the largest purveyor of the Italian liquor Galliano in the world — not much of a claim to fame but good enough for a tiny town in the foothills. After downing their signature drink and eating a not too bad pulled pork sandwich, we returned home.
Pasted Graphic
During the past few days, something occurred interesting enough that it prompted me to want to record it here. I decided to first spend a few days thinking over how I would write about it. Alas, I then forgot what it was that got me so excited. So, I decided to go to the movies instead.

The first movie I saw was Neighbors. I thought it was just meh. Two days later I went to see Nice Guys and liked it a lot. It was good to see a movie with clever patter to go along with an enjoyably unbelievable plot. A lot of people died. That was ok since most of them were bad guys and it was a comedy after all. I liked Russell Crowe as a fat PI — there was something Wellsian (Orson not H. G. ) about him. i then watched “my Cousin Vinny” on television for the umpteenth time and fell in love with Marisa Tomei once more.

After spending several days watching movies, staring at my computer screen and worrying about the health of my kidneys, I decided it was time for me to get away for a few days, so I left for Mendocino.

 

B. NONNA TERESA MAKES A BREAK FOR FREEDOM:

IMG_1928

Recently I got news that my 98 or 99-year-old mother (my sister and I disagree about her actual age and my mom refuses to tell us) fell and injured her head while trying to break out of the nursing home at which she resides. She was taken to the hospital where she had two stitches inserted in her forehead. She returned to her bed in the nursing home not too much the worse for wear.

A couple of years ago I read a novel entitled “The One-Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Ran Away.” It told the story about a 100 year-old-man who ran away from his nursing home as they were preparing to celebrate his 100th birthday. He fell in with a group of criminals, grifters, and a sympathetic cop, made a lot of money and ended up living in Indonesia or someplace like that with his 70-year-old Thai girlfriend.

I always suspected that should my mom ever successfully break out of confinement, she would probably immediately organize a criminal gang of her own made up old ladies specializing in shoplifting and random muggings. She would then take her ill-gotten gains and settle down with her boyfriend in someplace like Colma in an apartment above a restaurant named “Nona Teresa’s Eggplant and Ditalini House.”

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The senseless tragedy in Orlando Florida saddens me — people slaughtered only because of whom they chose to love. Once again in America, an angry young man armed with a gun murdered a bunch of people he did not know because he did not like or approve of them for some reason or other. Shame on us.

What is worse, I am neither shocked nor horrified. I fear I (and perhaps many of us) am becoming inured to this senseless mayhem. Mass murder with guns is to be expected in today’s America. It has become as constant as the tides. Yet, we do nothing. Shame on us.

We are urged by those who profit from the nation’s sorrow, to pick up guns to defend ourselves in order to be able to kill those we do not like and fear before they do so to us. Alas, in all likelihood, this will all end only when the last of us kills the last of them and they pry our guns from both of our cold dead hands. Shame on us.

We live in a reign of terror where we never know if or when some young man with hate in his heart and a gun will turn that gun on us or on our children. Shame on us.

And yet, our government that under the Constitution is charged with ensuring “domestic tranquility” does nothing while many of our elected representatives tell us that this same Constitution requires this reign of terror in order to preserve our freedom and liberty. Shame on us.

I am sure we all have noticed that rarely does an angry young woman pick up a gun and slaughter a bunch of innocent people solely because she does not like something about what they believe or who they choose to love. Perhaps we are approaching gun control all wrong. Of the almost 1000 mass shootings in America since Sandy Hook all, every single one, has been carried out by a man (one San Bernardino, he had a female accomplice). Maybe only women should be allowed to possess and carry guns. Not only might this eliminate these horrid mass killings, but reduce the incidence of rape and domestic violence as well

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

“Since 1945, no independent country recognized by the UN has been conquered and wiped off the map.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 370). HarperCollins

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Quigley on Top:

“By now it is clear to most thinking people that every decision we make on major public problems simply makes matters worse.”
Carroll Quigley in his review of Ferkiss “In Search for a Solution to the World Crisis”,’1974.

 

B. Hierarchy of American belief in equality.

“Despite its proclamation of the equality of all men, the imagined order established by the Americans in 1776 also established a hierarchy. It created a hierarchy between men, who benefited from it, and women, whom it left disempowered. It created a hierarchy between whites, who enjoyed liberty, and blacks and American Indians, who were considered humans of a lesser type and therefore did not share in the equal rights of men. Many of those who signed the Declaration of Independence were slaveholders. They did not release their slaves upon signing the Declaration, nor did they consider themselves hypocrites. In their view, the rights of men had little to do with Negroes.”

“The American order also consecrated the hierarchy between rich and poor. Most Americans at that time had little problem with the inequality caused by wealthy parents passing their money and businesses on to their children. In their view, equality meant simply that the same laws applied to rich and poor. It had nothing to do with unemployment benefits, integrated education or health insurance. Liberty, too, carried very different connotations than it does today. In 1776, it did not mean that the disempowered (certainly not blacks or Indians or, God forbid, women) could gain and exercise power. It meant simply that the state could not, except in unusual circumstances, confiscate a citizen’s private property or tell him what to do with it.

The American order thereby upheld the hierarchy of wealth, which some thought was mandated by God and others viewed as representing the immutable laws of nature. Nature, it was claimed, rewarded merit with wealth while penalizing indolence. All the above-mentioned distinctions — between free persons and slaves, between whites and blacks, between rich and poor — are rooted in fictions.

Yet, it is an iron rule of history that every imagined hierarchy disavows its fictional origins and claims to be natural and inevitable. For instance, many people who have viewed the hierarchy of free persons and slaves as natural and correct have argued that slavery is not a human invention. Hammurabi saw it as ordained by the gods. Aristotle argued that slaves have a ‘slavish nature’ whereas free people have a ‘free nature’. Their status in society is merely a reflection of their innate nature.

Ask white supremacists about the racial hierarchy, and you are in for a pseudoscientific lecture concerning the biological differences between the races. You are likely to be told that there is something in Caucasian blood or genes that makes whites naturally more intelligent, moral and hardworking. Ask a diehard capitalist about the hierarchy of wealth, and you are likely to hear that it is the inevitable outcome of objective differences in abilities. The rich have more money, in this view, because they are more capable and diligent. No one should be bothered, then, if the wealthy get better health care, better education and better nutrition. The rich richly deserve every perk they enjoy.
Harari, Yuval Noah . Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 134). HarperCollins.

 

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

The two great lies:

The first is, ‘if you work harder, you will have a better life” — For some perhaps but probably not you. For society as a whole. however, every time we passed the threshold where working longer and harder, such as during the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions, the health, happiness and yes even wealth of the mass of people declined. But, some would point out, it allowed us to produce and accommodate far more of us. A questionable benefit if there ever was one.

The second lie is,“If we work harder, our children will have a better life.” Again yes for some, but, historically, for most the benefits were short-lived and eventually many of the children lived worse lives.

So what does this tell us? Work less, spend more time with your families and friends, live frugally replacing things with experiences, have fewer children with more adults caring for and loving them.

 

D. Today’s Poem:

“One day I wrote her name upon the strand
But came the waves and washed it away
Again I write it with a second hand
But came the tide and made my pains his prey.”
Edmund Spenser

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The law is whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly maintained.”
Aaron Burr

 

 

 

A LITTLE SOMETHING FROM JOE HILL:

Long-haired preachers come out every night
To tell you what’s wrong and what’s right
But when asked how about something to eat
They will answer in voices so sweet:

You will eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky
Work and pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.
That’s a lie

And the starvation army they play
They sing and they clap and they pray
‘ Till they get all your coin on the drum
Then they’ll tell you when you’re on the bum:

You’re gonna eat, bye and bye, poor boy
In that glorious land above the sky, way up high
Work and pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die
Dirty lie

Holy Rollers and jumpers come out
They holler, they jump, Lord, they shout
Give your money to Jesus they say
He will cure all troubles today

And you will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky, way up high
Work and pray, boy, live on hay,
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.

If you fight hard for children and wife
Try to get something good in this life
You’re a sinner and bad man, they tell
When you die you will sure go to hell

You will eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky
Work and pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die

Workingmen of all countries, unite
Side by side we for freedom will fight
When this world and its wealth we have gained
To the grafters we’ll sing this refrain:

Well, you will eat, bye and bye
When you’ve learned how to cook and to fry
Chop some wood, it’ll do you good
You will eat in the sweet bye and bye

Yes you’ll eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky, way up high
Work and pray, and live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die
That’s a lie….
Joe Hill, 1910

 

Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 Cold Tits 0002 (February 26, 2013)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

It is not yet March and the delicate blooms on the decorative fruit trees are already in flower.

We were driving through the subdivision to or from the house, I mentioned to Hayden how pleased I was that he had gotten A’s on his mathematics and spelling exams. He rolled down the window and shouted out, “Now hear this everyone, I got A’s on my mathematics and spelling exams. Pookie is proud. In your face.” Should I worry?

Hayden’s eighth birthday is in two weeks. Preparing for a child’s birthday party is as stressful as deciding whether to accept a blindfold before being shot by a firing squad.

I used to have people to handle this. Their job description was usually “wife.” They in turn generally subcontracted it all out anyway.

 
JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s breath:

The Maltese Falcon (1941 film)

The Maltese Falcon (1941 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We didn’t exactly believe your story, Miss O’shaughnessey, we believed your 200 dollars. I mean you paid us more than if you had been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it alright. (Sam Spade)”
Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon

Chapter 5:

The voice on the phone said, “It’s Mavis.”

That’s as far as she got. I do not know how long I screamed into the phone nor do I recall precisely what I said. Essentially it was more or less $350 is not enough money to justify getting the shit kicked out of me. That simple idea was wrapped in many gender inappropriate words and many more that were inappropriate for any living thing with more consciousness than a virus. When I paused briefly for a breath she said, “Oh my God!” That stopped me right there. Who still says “oh my god?”

“I never thought…I’m so sorry… I’m coming right over. What’s your address?”

I gave her my address. She hung up. Thought, “What did I just do?” I never ever give anyone the address of my loft. Never since the day I came back from Cafe Americano with the blond financial-analyst intern and opened the door to find my wife standing there with the photographer. The divorce decree took everything, even the artwork on the walls and my furniture. She left me the loft. Said she was not taking it because she wanted me to remember that day every time I walked into the place.

I thought about selling it, but I knew I couldn’t. So I kept it and furnished it with things from Ikea and Goodwill.

Thought again, what if Mavis sent someone to hurt me? I couldn’t call her back and tell her to forget the address. I was fucked. When I had calmed down, I reasoned that maybe I was just horny. I guess guys get horny after getting beat up. But with Mavis? I’m not sure I found her all that attractive. Then again I my tastes in women have always been tinged with desperation.

I threw the napkin, now empty of ice into the sink. I had stopped bleeding at least. Went into the bathroom. Took off my clothes and tossed them into a corner to lie on the pile of clothing I had thrown into the same place all week. Went into the shower. Spent a long time under the hottest water I could stand. Tried to keep it from touching my wound. Failed. It burned like hell.

Got out of the shower, dried off, rooted around in the discard pile until I found a grey sweat shirt I had worn about three days ago that did not smell too bad. Found some khaki pants that were not too wrinkled and soiled. Carried them up to the sleeping platform and looked for clean underwear. Found only a maroon pair of boxer shorts with large white polka dots that were clean and a pair of white cotton briefs. Decided on the polka dots, the briefs were too embarrassing. Took some Tylenol.

I had just finished dressing when the doorbell rang. It was the same grinding sound as Ann’s door bell. I had intended to replace it but never got around to it since just about the only visitors I get now are pizza delivery people.

I buzzed open the door to the building. A few moments later I opened the door to the loft. She was dressed in black leather from the soles of her feet to her neck, a black motorcycle helmet held in one hand and a plastic bag dangling from the other. Flung both encumbered arms around me. Said, “Oh poor you.”

I tried to avoid any part of her touching my wound while hugging back as long as I could. She untangled herself, walked to the table unburdened herself of the bag and the helmet. As she removed her leather jacket and hung it over the back of a chair she said, “come here and sit down. I got some things from the drug store.”

I sat. She was wearing a loose blue sleeveless shirt. Both exposed arms were covered with jungle scenes, green foliage and various animals peeking out of the undergrowth. The jungle extended to cover her clearly visible side-boobs. A large snake seemed to be coiled around her right boob. She was bra-less. There was not that much there needing support other than the snake.

“God you look awful,” she said and she embarked on cleaning and wrapping my jaw. “I’m so sorry. I never expected something like this would happen. I don’t care about finding him. Not if it means someone is going to get hurt.”

I wanted to tell her I had enough and that I quit. Said instead, “It’s gone too far. It’s personal.” Immediately regretted saying it realizing I said it only to impress her.

Followed it up “What exactly did you expect,” as I cringed from something she had applied to the wound.

“Sorry,” she repeated. This time about the most recent pain she had caused me. “I knew he was mixed up in something. Nothing dangerous. I just was worried.”

I could feel the anger overwhelming my voyeuristic pleasure at both the view and her ministrations. “Bullshit. One doesn’t have thugs searching for one’s boyfriend and not know anything.” I grabbed her wrist before she put something else that hurt into the cut. Said, “Tell me everything or get the fuck out. I will find out on my own.” I squeezed harder on her wrist. Thought it made my words more dramatic and forceful.

She pulled away, sat down in one of the other chairs, stared at me a moment then looked off somewhere above my left shoulder.

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The Guns of Chicago:

I, as I expect many of you, have been inundated with harangues this past month or so regarding the horrific firearm assault and death rate in Chicago which, it has been claimed, has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation. I assume these communications are intended to convince the reader that gun control does not work and may somehow even increase gun assaults. They also often point out that President Obama is from Chicago which I think whoever writes up these things believes proves that he intends to take away your guns and give them to black people. Strangely enough, two days ago I read a right-wing blog post that suggested just that.

Almost all peer-reviewed scientific articles on the subject indicate that the more guns in a society, the more gun violence. (Perhaps one of the best repository for these studies can be found at the Harvard School of Public Health [http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/index.html]) As a general epistemological rule, where there is a local anomaly [high gun deaths and stringent gun control] that appears inconsistent with the general rule [fewer guns = less gun violence] one does not automatically assume either that the specific is the new generalization or that the generalization is invalid. One should first see if the specific case presented has something that distinguishes it from other situations.

In the case of Chicago it has many distinguishing factors. For example, it should be compared with other similar cities before applying any conclusions covering cities and non-cities alike. Cities often have higher raw crime numbers than rural areas because of population and proximity. While most studies show the Midwest to be significantly freer from assault threat than the South, the urban areas of both I would suspect would show higher raw numbers than the rural parts do. Among the differences between Chicago and similar urban areas is that the current escalation in violence commenced about four years ago with the breakout of a gang war. Blame it on Obama if you must, but the state of gun control laws probably has little to do with it.

Note: if as some have suggested gun control laws are a prelude to Nazism, shouldn’t the Chicago police by now have donned brown shirts and cleared the streets of the freedom loving gun carrying population shooting everyone up? Even more appropriate, shouldn’t we categorize these gang members shooting up their competitors as freedom loving people defending their Second Amendment rights?]

 
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

Chart-Government-SPending

This chart shows government debt as a percentage of GDP. In general the debt ratio declines during Democratic federal administrations. It has declined the most rapidly in recent history during the Obama administration. Republicans disagree with this chart, not because it is inaccurate but primarily for the reason mentioned in TODAY’S QUOTE below.

B. Tales of inhumanity:

“The massacre lasted six or eight hours, and a good many Indians escaped. I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. One squaw was wounded and a fellow took a hatchet to finish her, and he cut one arm off, and held the other with one hand and dashed the hatchet through her brain. One squaw with her two children were on their knees, begging for their lives of a dozen soldiers, within ten feet of them all firing — when one succeeded in hitting the squaw in the thigh, when she took a knife and cut the throats of both children and then killed herself. … They were all horribly mutilated. You would think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did.”

Capt. Silas Soule was at Sand Creek on November 29, 1864 the day Col. John Chivington and 700 volunteers attacked the peaceful Cheyenne-Arapahoe village on the Colorado Plains killing 150 of them. Soule refused to fight that day and wrote a letter about the massacre from which the portion quoted above was taken.

After the battle, the soldiers cut off the breasts of the women and the scrotums of the men to make into tobacco pouches that they then traded at the fort where they were stationed on their return.

Soule later testified against Chivington and was murdered soon after.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“There are two types of Republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.”
by frankzappatista

 

TODAY’S CHART:

by-2017-users-in-asia-will-collectively-consume-more-data

Perhaps one of the more significant charts of the year. It indicates an almost exponential near-term growth in mobile communications and data traffic. If mobile communication and data availability represents an increase in individual opportunity for success, we are looking for at least a short-term balancing of the current negative trends in the world’s economy.

On the other hand, if this chart is attempting to imply a shift in data growth and thereby power, it is as misleading as hell. From the chart one would assume that data growth and power is inevitably shifting towards what they describe as Asia-Pacific.

First, the chart itself except for MEA, does not indicate any significant percentage shift among the regions. The relationships seem to have more to do with population growth and market maturity than anything else.

More importantly the choices of regions identified is as bizarre as it is erroneous and misleading. Europe is as much a part of Asia as any other part of that massive continent. If the reason for excluding Europe from the rest of Asia is not geographic but for other historical and sociological reasons, then lumping the rest of Asia together makes no sense.

By whatever measures one choses to use (historical, economic, cultural of political) Eurasia more or less can be divided into the following regions:

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE- Europe east of Urals)
The Near and Middle East (NME — NME is not part of Africa)
Central Asia (CA–The “Stans” plus Siberia)
South Asia (SA– India, Bangladesh, Ceylon and the Himalayan countries.)
South East Asia (SEA)
East Asia (EA–Primarily China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.)

To estimate approximate current population distribution:

CEE–700 million +
NME–450 million +
CA–300 million + or –
SA– 1.4 billion +
SEA — 650 million + or-
EA– 1.5 billion +

Although it is a gross overgeneralization, if one were to estimate their relative rates of population growth and their rate of DTG not directly related to technological changes then I would guess we have:

CEE –Stable Population — DTG primarily due to technology.
NME– Fairly Rapid Population Growth– DTG lagging due to politics.
CA–Rapid Population Growth– DTG potential huge but lagging.
SA– Population Growth slowing– DTG still room for expansion.
SEA– Population slowly growing–DTG significant.
EA– Stable Population– DTG primarily due to technology.

With the above changes in the chart one would be better able to use it guess who is winning or losing the data game and where someone can make the most money.

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0759

The Manneken Pis of Mendocino

 

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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