Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July 17


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Since Fox News does not (yet) have representation in the United States Senate, torture fan Liz Cheney announced Tuesday afternoon that she is willing to let the state of Wyoming elect her in 2014, especially now that she owns a house there and everything. We now find ourselves in the curious position of kind of half-heartedly rooting for Mike Enzi, the conservative three-term senator whom Cheney will face in a primary next year, unless her dad taught her to do that thing where she holds her hand out in front of her and Enzi's windpipe just collapses and she says she finds his lack of faith disturbing. That could happen, too. READ MORE

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Miami Considers Jailing Homeless People For Eating, Sleeping In Public

You gotta admit that it takes a special kind of stupid to be as consistently awful as Richard Cohen has been over the years. We'd link to the many times we've had to write a "WHAT THE FUCK RICHARD COHEN" post but we don't have that kind of time, so here is our Wonkette Richard Cohen archive in all its WHAT THE FUCK RICHARD COHEN. Today, Cohen is dropping knowledge about the Zimmerman trial. Whom would you think is to blame for the death of an unarmed black boy? Would you guess "black criminals"? Then you are probably right.

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I recommend reading the full essay from the Brookings Institute on the promise of Sandy Hook and the current state of gun culture, violence, and laws in America, but here's one statistic that's bound to jump off the page at you.

Because there is no national database of guns or gun owners, no one knows how many guns are in private hands in the U. S. According to polling, the rate of gun ownership (the percentage of households containing one or more firearms) has actually been falling over the last two decades, but the total number of guns in private possession has gone up sharply, from 200 million in 1994 to somewhere between 270 and 300 million today.

When we compare ourselves to other countries (using the latest data, from the 2007 Small Arms Survey), we find that the U.S. has by far the highest rate of private gun ownership in the world: 88 guns per 100 people. (Next on the list is Yemen, at 55 guns per 100.) At the conservative estimate of 270 million guns, Americans have stockpiled almost half of the privately owned firearms in the world.

We're number one alright, but the bad news (or good news depending on your perspective) is that the next closest country is Yemen!

And as the essay notes, 270 million guns would be a very conservative estimate. More recent estimates (2009) have pegged the number of guns at being in the neighborhood of 300 million. If you add additional sales figures for years after 2009, the number could be as high or higher than 310 million.

The election of President Obama was very good for gun sales. For reasons.

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2 years after nuclear disaster, Japan spawns freaky fruits and veggies


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Attorney General Eric Holder says it's time to do away with bloodthirsty "stand your ground" laws. If you kill someone in self-defense, it shouldn't be a problem to have to prove that in court. Sorry if you find that inconvenient. 

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Lindsay Graham wants to politicize the 2014 Winter Olympics over Eric Snowden and Russia. Don't worry, he can't even get his ideological blood brother -- John McCain -- to agree that boycotting the games is a good idea. People shouldn't have to put their Olympic careers off for four years -- or cancel that dream altogether -- just because Graham wants to play foreign policy hardass in an election year. - See more at: http://gripernews.blogspot.com/#sthash.CundX3mT.dpuf

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This is probably not all bad news

Sperm counts are dwindling evidently:

Are today's young men less fertile than their fathers were? It's a controversy in the fertility field, with some experts raising the alarm over what some are calling a "sperm crisis" because they believe men's sperm counts have been decreasing for a decade or more.

Experts here for the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology annual conference last week debated the issue for an entire day.

One recent analysis found that in France, the sperm concentration of men decreased by nearly one-third between 1989 and 2005. Most but not all studies from several European nations with large databases and the ability to track health records have found that over the past 15 years or so, the counts of healthy men ages 18 to 25 have significantly decreased. This comes after a prominent study from the 1990s suggested that sperm count has decreased by half over the last half-century.

Considering how human beings are consuming far more of the planet's resources than we should be, it might not be all bad that male fertility might be declining. We can't feed the people who are here now, much less the countless billions still to come. Perhaps this is nature making a course correction.

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Worst Person in the World

Forever and always, it's Ted Nugent. From his Wingnut Daily column about the Zimmerman verdict:

[A]ll thinking people are very relieved that George Zimmerman was found not guilty by the intelligent, justice-driven women of the jury, in spite of the fa├žade presented by the prosecution and forced by the threat of racism by everyone from President Obama, to Eric Holder, the New Black Panther gangstas, NAACP, excuse makers of every stripe and even the governor of Florida, but still this innocent man who simply defended his life from a violent, life-threatening, bloodying, head-and-face slamming attack by an enraged black man-child has so wrongly paid an inexplicable price financially and emotionally.

Yes, he called Trayvon "an enraged black man-child."

And then…

But George Zimmerman and his entire family, innocent of any wrongdoing, have lost everything and will be in debt for a long, long time for having to fight the trumped-up charges that he 'profiled' and/or set out to murder the poor, helpless, dope-smoking, dope-peddling, gangsta wannabe, Skittles hoodie boy.

Um. Hoodie boy?

Totally not racist. No way.

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Leave Them Kids Alone

According to Utah state Senator Aaron Osmond, the time has come to end compulsory education and give families the choice of not educating their children at all.

SALT LAKE CITY The idea of forcing children to attend school is outdated and should be scrapped in favor of a system that encourages learning by choice, state Sen. Aaron Osmond said in calling for an end to compulsory education in Utah.

"Some parents act as if the responsibility to educate, and even care for their child, is primarily the responsibility of the public school system," the South Jordan Republican first wrote on a state Senate blog on Friday.

Some parents act as if the public school system has a responsibility to educate children? The audacity!

"As a result, our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness."

And they expect schools to prepare their children for college or even a job? Who do these people think they are?

"Let's let them choose it, let's not force them to do it," he told the Desert News on Monday. "I think that's when you start seeing the shift."

Our nation's educational institutions may be inadequate or falling behind the rest of the world, but it's still better than nothing. And that's what they would choose if given a chance: nothing.

If children in Utah don't learn to behave themselves at school, they may never. If they aren't provided lunch at school, they may not eat at all. If they're denied sex education at school, they certainly won't learn about that until its too late. And if they aren't prepared for college or a career after high school, they may never be.

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Anonymous GOP staffer: climate change is real and needs to be addressed

ClimateProgress:

The good news is that someone in the GOP did say it. The bad news is they had a bag over their head.

RealClearScience ran this must-read piece, "How the GOP Could Win the Climate Debate," with the following byline: "Eric Bradenson, writing under a pen name to protect his boss and himself, is a conservative staffer on Capitol Hill working for a House Republican. His views are his own."

One might call this a nom de plume of smoke. Or Profiles in Discourage.

The editors noted, "This article was awarded second place in the "Young Conservative Thought Leaders" contest from the Energy & Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University." [The first place winner is here.]

The E&EI folks were a tad blunter, "Bradenson is working for a Republican House Member and opted to remain anonymous for job security reasons." The Tea Party-driven national GOP have become like the Gong Show — and the only people willing to try a standup act are wearing a bag on their head.

Real Clear Science:

Someone in the GOP needs to say it: conservation is conservative; climate change is real; and conservatives need to lead on solutions because we have better answers than the other side.

Read the rest of this entry »

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