What Causes Hurricanes?

We can’t blame it on white supremacists?

Life Goes On

Trump went golfing as Hurricane Dorian threatens US

CNN

So what? I was jerking off while my dad died of a heart attack.

No, I made that up. The point is, life goes on. Did you stop fucking your secretary just because your sister was in the hospital? Of course not. There was nothing you could do for her, just like there’s nothing Trump can do about the hurricane.

Give me a fucking break . . .

Praying for Protection

Texas state lawmaker calls for ‘praying for protection’ instead of gun reform in wake of mass shooting

CNN

Let me ask you: what is “gun reform”? Why would it be better than prayer for preventing mass shootings?

Pray for protection and if you get shot, take comfort in knowing it was God’s will.

Can I get an amen?

EppsNet Household Hints

Before swinging a refrigerator door shut over the top of your bare foot, make sure the door has enough clearance to actually go over the top of your foot.

Jim Leavelle, 1920-2019

You don’t know his name, but you know who he is. He’s one of three people in the foreground of one of the most famous photos in American history.

Leavelle is the man in the light-colored suit escorting Lee Harvey Oswald through the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters when Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby.

Notice the difference in the position of Oswald relative to Leavelle in the photo below, before the gunshot. Leavelle, who was handcuffed to Oswald, said when he saw Ruby with the gun, he tried to jerk Oswald behind him, but Ruby was so close by that time that all he was able to do was turn Oswald sideways.

Leavelle died this week at the age of 99.

RIP Jim Leavelle

At the El Pollo Loco Drive-Thru

“Does that complete your order?”

“Yes.”

“Would you like some chips or guacamole with that?”

“What did I just say?”

Nuking Hurricanes

  1. I haven’t seen any evidence that the president suggested bombing hurricanes, but . . .
  2. The idea of bombing hurricanes is not new. According to National Geographic, “on October 11, 1961, the head of the U.S. Weather Bureau said he could ‘imagine the possibility someday of exploding a nuclear bomb on a hurricane far at sea.'”
  3. The habit of saying seemingly crazy ideas out loud is something, I think, to be encouraged. Ideas that must have seemed insane the first time someone said them out loud would include “Let’s put a man on the moon,” “Let’s dig a canal across the continent,” etc.

Wrong Harvard

I asked Google for directions to CVS at Harvard Place, which is a local shopping area here in Irvine.

Google provided directions to Cambridge, MA.

The good news is that traffic is light so I should arrive in just under 48 hours.

Fact Check: Trump Said One Thing While His Critics Said Another!

From an Associated Press “fact check”:

Trump distorted science in seeking to assign blame on video games for the deadly shootings in Texas and Ohio, rather than on his own words that critics say contributed to a combustible racial climate spawning violence.

Trump said one thing while his critics said another? That’s a fact check?!

First of all, “I blame video games” is a ridiculous simplification of what he actually said but okay, let’s talk about video games . . .

I’m not aware of a “scientific link” between video games and mass shootings. Nor am I aware of a “scientific link” between Trump talking about immigration and mass shootings, but notice that doesn’t stop the AP from throwing it out there.

(“Critics say” does not establish a scientific link.)

How is the video game research done? Do researchers look at the percentage of video game players who commit mass murder and say “Well, it’s virtually zero, thus no connection.”

Mass murder is thankfully an extremely rare event. It’s indicative of nothing to say that almost no one who does X commits mass murder.

I would be interested though, once someone has committed a mass murder, in knowing what their video game habits were. I know in at least one recent case — the Christchurch shootings — the killer live streamed it like a first person shooter video game. Where would he get an idea like that?

 

Regarding words contributing to a “combustible racial climate spawning violence,” a lot of Americans over the last few years have taken to calling everyone politically to the right of themselves racists, white supremacists and Nazis.

What do those words contribute to?

  1. Tolerance, inclusion and mutual respect
  2. A “combustible racial climate spawning violence”

The correct answer is B.

Trump says there’s an “invasion” at the border and he’s creating a “combustible racial climate spawning violence.” Meanwhile, the Associated Press and most every other news organization give their blessing to half the country being insulted on a daily basis with fighting words like “racist,” “Nazi” and “white supremacist,” apparently without considering that anyone might be getting pretty pissed off about it.

If Rip Taylor Had a News Show

This picture is actually from the CNN website, in case you’re thinking I cherry-picked an image to make Anderson Cooper look like a clown . . .

Mass Shootings, Thwarted and Unthwarted

Arresting some knucklehead on a weapons charge and saying you “thwarted a mass shooting” is a speculative fantasy.

Meanwhile, since El Paso there have been 25 actual unthwarted mass shootings (per Mass Shooting Tracker), which don’t make the news because they don’t fit the preferred narrative.

For example, four of the shootings occurred in Chicago, where in each case the shooters fired into a crowd of people. By my count, about half the victims were women.

I can’t find any reporting on this in Mother Jones, which is pretty shocking given their obvious interest in mass shootings.

They’d rather report on imaginary mass shootings by white males than on the actual mass shootings of Chicago residents .

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 there is of no interest; or possibly because these cases don’t fit the preferred narrative of mass shootings being the exclusive province of white males.

El Paso is the worst mass murder (22 deaths) in the U.S. in 2019. Second worst: DeWayne Craddock, a black man, murdered 13 co-workers in Virginia Beach, VA. Relatively speaking, how much more coverage did El Paso get? Ten times as much? 100 times? I know it was a lot.

El Paso fits a narrative; Virginia Beach doesn’t.

In May of this year, a Detroit man named Deroy Robinson murdered three people: two gay men and a transgender woman.

Because this crime hits not one but two media hot buttons — gun violence and homophobia — if not for the fact that Robinson is not white, it should have been a national topic for weeks, and then been adapted into a movie, a play and a miniseries.

As it is, you’ve probably never heard of Deroy Robinson.

TL;DR: Mass shootings happen every day but they largely go unreported. With more than four months left in 2019, there have already been 320 mass shootings (per Mass Shooting Tracker). White males are not the only perpetrators, and in fact are are not even close to being the majority of perpetrators.

Even in cases of actual mass murder, as in the Craddock and Robinson cases, the volume of news coverage seems to be much lower for non-white shooters.

The New York Times vs. Trump

Slate has published a transcript of what it calls the New York Times “crisis town-hall meeting.”

The transcript shows that Times executive editor Dean Baquet seems to fault readers for their failure to understand the Times and its duties in the era of Trump. “They sometimes want us to pretend that he was not elected president, but he was elected president,” Baquet said. “And our job is to figure out why, and how, and to hold the administration to account. If you’re independent, that’s what you do.”

This was followed by 75 minutes of Q&A with staffers in which, by my count, every question except one could be summarized as “Why can’t we call Donald Trump a racist more often?”

In terms of figuring out why and how Trump was elected, I feel sure that “Can you believe what stupid racists Republican voters are?” moves us further from rather than closer to an answer.

It also says a lot about about the so-called “independence” of the New York Times.

Here is what Baquet said about the Times coverage of the Russian collusion (non-)story:

“Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump, not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? . . .

“The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened. Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, “Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.” And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?”

No, that’s not right. “A little tiny bit flat-footed”? The story “looked” a certain way for two years because you pre-selected it as the number one narrative of the Trump presidency and because you deliberately framed it a certain way for two years, and that way was, in a word, wrong.

8Chan

According to the New York Times, at least three mass shootings this year — the one in El Paso last Saturday, the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif. — have been announced in advance on 8chan.

The 8chan site has struggled to stay online as hosting providers no longer want to provide services.

If mass shootings are being announced in advance, wouldn’t it make sense to maintain the site online and pay attention to it?

A Terrific Ordeal

John Berryman said that for a writer any ordeal that doesn’t kill him is terrific. The fact that his ordeal did finally kill him doesn’t make what he was saying wrong.

Philip Roth

Polarizing Ideas

Analyzing the actions and/or writings of mass murderers in hopes of being able to blame one’s political opponents is not an admirable impulse. The El Paso shooter wrote that his views predate President Trump, but I notice that didn’t stop motivated people from blaming Trump and his “polarizing ideas.”

If we have to play this game, I think I could make an equally good case for “polarizing ideas” on the left. e.g., “When I’m president, I will decriminalize border crossings. People will be coming in from everywhere and when they get here, you’re going to be paying for their healthcare and education, all the way through college. Oh you’re trying to save up a down payment for a house? That’s too bad. Maybe they’ll take your job too. By the way, if you don’t think this is a good idea, you are a deplorable person. You’re a racist. You’re a white supremacist. You’re a Nazi. What do you think about that?” Is that a polarizing idea? I can imagine some unhinged person thinking, “What do I think about it? I’ll show you what I think about it.”

How Many White Supremacists Are There?

I see “white supremacists” and “white nationalists” being tossed around every day but I never see any reporting on how many Americans actually identify as white supremacists or white nationalists.

Why is that? Wouldn’t it be important to know?

I assume it’s because the actual number is too small to be taken seriously so it’s just omitted. The Flat Earth Society probably has more members. “White nationalism” is the political term of choice because it sounds a lot scarier than “an extremely small, poorly organized group of confused losers.”

Betsy Ross: American Badass

Unfortunately I won’t be rocking my Betsy Ross sneakers today as Nike is making product decisions based on the hurt feelings of the most sensitive man in America.

Hatred of a political party is erasing an iconic (female) figure in the founding of the United States of America.

Below is a photo of the Betsy Ross flag prominently displayed at the 2013 inaugural of Barack Obama, of whom I was not a great admirer, but who at least did not hold completely insane views like displaying the original Stars and Bars is an endorsement of slavery.

The Problem With Van Gogh is He Did Not Know What Sells

Van Gogh self portrait

Here’s an article by some artistic nobody on the subject of Art That Sells: Top Themes, Subjects, and Mediums for Best-Selling Art.

“As an artist,” he says, “I like to know what sells.”

Right! Leave the starving artist shtick to some other starry-eyed clod.

The article delivers on its promise, enumerating the most popular genres, themes, subjects, media, colors, sizes, etc.

“Sizes”?! Heck yeah, sell ’em by the yard.

Van Gogh, to my knowledge, did not sell a single painting in his lifetime. He did not “know what sells.”

Iy saddens me to think that if only we could reverse the hands of time and make the information in this article available to him, perhaps he could have made something of himself and still been alive today.

Robotic Artist Has Solo Show at Oxford

This Robot Artist Just Became the First to Stage a Solo Exhibition. What Does That Say About Creativity?

Time

A robot painter has a solo exhibition on display at Oxford.

Van Gogh has asked that his gun be sent to Hell so he can shoot himself again . . .

Robot painter