Author Archive: Hostile Witness

What is a “Mass Shooting” and Who Commits Them?

The Mass Shooting Tracker defines a mass shooting as “an incident where four or more people are shot in a single shooting spree.” The FBI definition of “mass murder” is three or more people murdered in one event. The FBI doesn’t have a definition for “mass shooting.” You have to actually die for the FBI to take notice of you. As of this writing, of 75 mass shootings in 2019, where the race of the perpetrator is known, 22 were white, 39 were black, 8 were Latino, 3 were Asian, 2 were American Indian and 1 was Arab. Many of the 2019 mass shootings are currently unsolved, thus the race of the shooters is not known, but they often took place in black areas and claimed black victims. Mass shootings of black citizens is not generally considered newsworthy, possibly because media have written inner cities off as unsalvageable, so what happens… Read more →

Fat Bike Riders

There are a lot of cyclists in Irvine . . . if you visit the local coffee shops on the weekend, you’ll see a bunch of them after their ride, usually in groups, all togged out like Tour de France participants. While actual bike racers are very lean, these folks ironically are always among the fattest people in the establishment, a fact emphasized by their skin-tight attire. I’m tempted to ask, “Why don’t you ride in a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, given that 1) your racing togs just emphasize what a physical mess you are, and 2) no amount of aerodynamic material is going to make you a bike racer because you’re too fat.” Read more →

Sanctuary Cities?

Pelosi fumes over White House plan to release immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities Fox News Sanctuary cities: Immigrants, regardless of status, are safe in our city. Bring them here! They are welcome. This is the very point of a sanctuary city! President trump: Ok, we’ll send a few busloads over right now. Sanctuary cities: Wait — what? Read more →

Alex Trebek Has Cancer

And yet Pat Sajak is in perfect health . . . this is fair?! Actually, I’ve never liked Alex Trebek. I used to watch the original version of Jeopardy!, hosted by a guy named Art Fleming, who, unlike Trebek, didn’t act like he was smarter than the contestants just because he had the answers right there in front of him . . . Read more →

Commercials That Don’t Fit the NFL Audience

These Verizon and Sprint commercials I see on NFL telecasts, where beta male milquetoasts dispense advice on cell phones, seem misdirected toward what I imagine to be the pro football-watching demographic. Also off target: the Dove for Men commercials where metrosexuals meet up to lament the demoisturizing effects of their skin care products. Read more →

The People I Feel Sorry For

According to 2016 and 2017 data from HHS.gov, 11.4 million people misused prescription opioids. That doesn’t include 886,000 people using heroin, which is not available via prescription. The people I feel bad for are the ones who are not addicted to opioids. There’s so much anxiety and loneliness in life. How do you get through it without a little help? Read more →

Who Listens to Sports Talk?

I had a sports talk station on the car radio this afternoon . . . based on the the advertisements, the target demographic is low-testosterone bald guys whose dicks don’t work . . . Read more →

The Power of Prayer

A Facebook friend posts: Prayers for my mom. She’s in the ICU. I refrain from saying that a few months ago we were all praying for your dad and he died. 🙁 Read more →

We’ll All Go Together When We Go

NORTH KOREA DEAL IS OFFFICIALLY A BUST. Media owes it to the American people to cover this as much as they covered the initial meeting. They covered the original summmit very irresponsibly, implying a level of success despite nothing achieved & lots lost. At least follow-up. — Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) July 7, 2018 I’m afraid that there are people who, given a choice between a Trump success story and a nuclear war, would choose the war. Read more →

Overheard: “As a . . .”

“As a member of the queer community and a trans woman of color . . .” “Are you the official spokesperson for the queer community and/or trans women of color? If not, that’s not a good lead-in to whatever you’re going to say.”   It’s going to get ponderous if we all have to begin sentences by announcing all of the labels we’re currently assigning to ourselves. “As a white male heterosexual . . .” “As a Gen-X Albanian bisexual . . .” “As an LGBT with PTSD . . .” “As a differently-abled libertarian woman with AIDS . . .” Just say your piece! Some people would say at this point that queer trans women of color should be recognized and celebrated. Would they say the same about a guy wearing a MAGA hat and an NRA t-shirt? Would they want to make sure that he feels safe and… Read more →

Separation of Families Considered Harmful?

Here’s a photo showing two girls in a “cage” watching a World Cup match, amongst dozens of other kids who are for some reason wrapped in foil. I’ve seen this photo and others widely circulated online recently as evidence of the Trumpenfuhrer’s crimes against humanity. But guess what? The photos were taken in 2014, when some other guy was president. Many people have a single standard for evaluating political activity: Is it being carried out by Team Red or Team Blue. Nothing is good or bad on its own merits. I don’t remember anyone on Team Blue being outraged about kids in “cages” in 2014, but in 2018 it’s a humanitarian crisis has to be denounced mercilessly, even if the evidence has to be faked. I haven’t heard anyone propose a viable alternative to separating parents and children at the border. I’m not sure Team Blue wants to find a… Read more →

Have a Coke!

Traditional religion turned the consciousness of sin into a condition for salvation, but the tortured sense of nothingness qualifies us now only for miserable extinction, for merciful release in lonely death. That said, why not enjoy an ice-cold Coca-Cola? Read more →

Answers to Persistent Questions

Is there a God? No. What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is. What is the purpose of the universe? There is none. Does prayer work? Of course not. What happens when we die? We are put a few feet in the ground to blindly rot and disappear forever. Otherwise, things go on pretty much as before. Read more →

There is No Doubt = There is Doubt

There is no doubt about it. The scenario that took place at Starbucks back in April is serious. Targeting someone because of their skin color in 2018 seems ridiculous, because it is. Haven’t we come far beyond this sort of thing in the past fifty years? — Jim Bohn When someone says “There is no doubt about it” or “It is an indisputable fact” or “Everyone knows . . .”, rest assured that what follows will be an opinion about which there is nothing but doubt and the speaker wants to sidestep having to make a case for whatever he or she is putting forward. It doesn’t make sense to preface something about which there really is no doubt by saying “There is no doubt about it.” It’s superfluous and silly. If I were one of the Starbucks employees, I’d be suing for defamation. What evidence are you relying on… Read more →

The Woman in the Photo

Is that his wife in the photo? Because I’m about to divorce my wife after looking closely at this photo . . . Read more →

Need a Job? Move to Iowa

If every unemployed person in the Midwest was placed into an open job, there would still be more than 180,000 unfilled positions, according to the most recent Labor Department data. The 12-state region is the only area of the country where job openings outnumber out-of-work job seekers. . . . Beth Townsend, head of Iowa’s department of workforce development, said Iowa has an abundance of low-skilled workers but is facing a gap when it comes to jobs that require some specialized training. “We’ve got a lot of adults who could be easily upskilled,” she said. In particular, she is trying to get more disabled people or ex-convicts into the workforce because they often face more hurdles in finding employment. — Wall Street Journal Need a job? Move to Iowa! Your only competition is disabled people and ex-convicts! Read more →

David Hogg’s College Prospects

A CNN news anchor asked Parkland shooting survivor and graduating senior David Hogg “what kind of dumbass colleges” would reject his application. As it happens, the dumbass colleges include UCLA and three other UC schools: UC San Diego, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara. Hogg scored a 1270 on the SAT. 1270 SAT scores are a dime a dozen. If his name were, say, Emma Gonzalez, he might get into a UC school with a 1270 SAT, but a white boy from Florida is not getting into a UC school with a 1270 SAT. Unlike Laura Ingraham, I will not lose any advertisers for pointing this out because I don’t have any advertisers. Hogg puts himself out there as a guy who’s going to play hardball with profane takedowns of anyone who doesn’t see the world the same way he does, but he feels victimized when someone says a 1270… Read more →

Was Nikolas Cruz Bullied?

In 2018, being accused of bullying is not on a par with being accused of murder, but it’s close. Emma Gonzalez, one of the Parkland shooting survivors, said this about Nikolas Cruz at the anti-gun march in Washington, D.C.: Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him? You don’t know this kid. OK? We did! I can’t see anything unusual about that. The popular kids sneer at the geeks, the nerds and the weirdos. Because they deserve it. You don’t know this kid. We did. But when the kid in this case goes off the rails, which “was no surprise to anyone who knew him,” some self-reflection seems to be in order before blaming the usual suspects. I don’t understand the strategy of gun control proponents. Every tragedy… Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: High School Gun Experts

I’m burned out on the high school gun “experts” for a couple of reasons: They’re rude. It’s too obvious that someone or a collection of someones is scripting their talking points. I heard one of the kids raising an obscure point about record-keeping requirements at the ATF. Most gun control advocates are not even familiar with the basic mechanisms and terminology of guns, let alone with ATF policy minutiae. That’s something a gun control lobbyist would know about, but it’s not something a high school kid knows about, unless it’s scripted out for him. I don’t object to the anti-gun message, although I disagree with most of it . . . I object to being treated like the kind of rube who can’t tell when a high school student is plagiarizing someone else’s ideas. Also: these kids have a platform, not based on their own merits, but because 17 other… Read more →

Slut-Shaming: It’s Not Just For Women Anymore

Some of the recent sexual misconduct allegations seem serious enough to warrant adjudication in a courtroom, but a lot of them sound like what would be called slut-shaming if the targets were women. (Slut-shaming is the practice of criticizing or attacking [wo]men for having casual or promiscuous sex, acknowledging sexual feelings and/or acting on sexual feelings. The implication is that if a [wo]man engages in sexual activity that traditional society disapproves of, [s]he should feel guilty and inferior.) Joe Barton is the congressman from Texas whose nude photo was posted online, apparently by a jealous ex-girlfriend. (That link goes to an NPR story, not to the actual photo. I’m sure you can find the photo if you want to but be advised that Barton is overweight and 68 years old.) Some facts are in dispute, but everyone agrees that the photo was posted (by someone) after Barton told the woman… Read more →

Next Page »