Categories
Uncategorized

Hence the Gloom

The Economist‘s Lexington blog:

As for the National Rifle Association bumper stickers arguing that only an armed citizenry can prevent tyranny, I wonder if that isn’t a form of narcissism, involving the belief that lone, heroic individuals will have the ability to identify tyranny as it descends, recognise it for what it is, and fight back. There is also the small matter that I don’t think America is remotely close to becoming a tyranny, and to suggest that it is is both irrational and a bit offensive to people who actually do live under tyrannical rule.

The argument put forth? How about no guns at all?

I am not sure that tinkering with gun control will stop horrible massacres like [Newtown’s]. And I am pretty sure that the sort of gun control that would work—banning all guns—is not going to happen. So I have a feeling that even a more courageous debate than has been heard for some time, with Mr Obama proposing gun-control laws that would have been unthinkable in his first term, will not change very much at all. Hence the gloom.

This is where I am. The thing to do is to have a society in which no regular folks have guns at all. But it won’t happen here. No matter how many “likes” you give that Facebook meme.

Categories
Uncategorized

200+ Years Ago

MG Siegler:

Honestly, I don’t give a shit that you think you have the right to own a gun because someone 200+ years ago said you do to prevent (or allow for) an insurrection or whatever. If this issue is going to be solved, you’re going to have to agree that in the 21st century, maybe your right to own a gun isn’t as important as people — children — living or dying.

Categories
Uncategorized

Not qualified to answer a question like that

Many mysteries remain about the origins of the universe; how rapidly it has expanded, and how all the atomic parts fit together. There is a lot left to learn. But not about whether or not the universe was created in seven days. It wasn’t. Rubio is wrong—it is not a dispute for theologians. It is not a dispute at all.

There are not two sides to every issue. Some have thirteen sides and others have one. The only thing that Rubio got right in his conversation with Hainey (besides the moral power of Eminem’s lyrics) is that he is “not qualified to answer a question like that.”

Categories
Uncategorized

Out came the knife

Cops, cashiers and railroad men: my people sprang from the Bronx. My parents used college like a pole vault, soft-landing in the burbs.

At 23, having horrified my family by salmoning back to that borough, I hung on the roof of a tenement building with Hector and Luis. I wanted a sharper life with guys like them, who dealt Mexican weed and stripped junkers on the Mosholu Parkway service road. They were like brothers until one caught the other with his woman. Out came the knife.

Too sharp. I moved.

Categories
Uncategorized

The Internet doesn’t do secrets.

The age of the password has come to an end; we just haven’t realized it yet. And no one has figured out what will take its place. What we can say for sure is this: Access to our data can no longer hinge on secrets—a string of characters, 10 strings of characters, the answers to 50 questions—that only we’re supposed to know. The Internet doesn’t do secrets.

Categories
Uncategorized

You’ll feel worse

There are two in every package so you learn the nature of regret. After you eat the first one, you know enough to stop, but you already know how this is going to play out. The second Twinkie is a promise that no matter how bad you feel, after you eat it you’ll feel worse. And yet, you will.

Categories
Uncategorized

The heroic entrepreneur

The Republican story about how societies prosper — not just the Romney story — dwelt on the heroic entrepreneur stifled by taxes and regulations: an important story with which most people do not identify. The ordinary person does not see himself as a great innovator. He, or she, is trying to make a living and support or maybe start a family. A conservative reform of our health-care system and tax code, among other institutions, might help with these goals. About this person, however, Republicans have had little to say.

Categories
Uncategorized

Contempt for the reality of human suffering

We can … know with certainty that the Christian God does not exist as standardly defined: a being who is omniscient, omnipotent, and wholly benevolent. The proof lies in the world, which is full of extraordinary suffering. If someone claims to have a sensus divinitatis that picks up a Christian God, they are deluded. It may be added that genuine belief in such a God, however rare, is profoundly immoral: it shows contempt for the reality of human suffering, or indeed any intense suffering.

Categories
Uncategorized

Entrenched unfairness

A capital gains tax rate (making money off money) that is lower than the earned income rate (making money off work) is just not fair. Bestowing that rate on hedge-fund managers through a specially designed loophole is just not fair. Allowing the rich to take mortgage deductions for second and third homes, or for homes worth over $1 million, is just not fair. Allowing business owners like me to take myriad deductions that our employees cannot take is just not fair. But, most of all, allowing the wealthy to pay very low tax rates while interest on the war debt accumulates, deficits continue, and middle-class incomes deteriorate is just not fair.

… The GOP can recruit candidates with Hispanic surnames, tone down its platform, prep its members on talking points, and try to duplicate the Obama turnout machine. But if it remains the party of entrenched unfairness, it will never win another national election.