Republican jerks endlessly heckling former Congressman Anthony Weiner

Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner currently holds no public office, is not a written or television pundit anywhere and is generally out of political life outside of merely commenting on it as a civilian. So why are some Republican outlets still hecktoring him years after he was a threat to them? Have you people no decency?

Fine. Potential poor choice of words since decency is what gave Weiner his scarlet letter in the first place but that doesn’t excuse the surrounding details of his situation: mainly the fact that he isn’t in a position in power or influence anymore, so making him the object of ridicule is punching-down in a distasteful way in my opinion.

For those of you who forgot or never knew: Congressman Weiner accidentally publicly tweeted a picture of an erection visible through his underwear when he meant to send it privately to a girl he was e-flirty with via sexy pics and messages. He denied it at first and then came clean about it when that strategy failed and blah blah blah. Okay – fine. We get it. It’s funny cuz of his name, cuz it’s definitely a skeezy thing to do while married and usually a skeezy thing to do even if not and all that jazz – okay. He resigned. A couple years afterward he ran for mayor of NYC and didn’t win the primary.

Yet for the past several years that he has been out of office I will randomly see hit pieces on the former congressman in Conservative media and they are always 100% gratuitous and bizarre.

Today it’s gotten so bad that they’re even hassling him over tweeting about traffic in NYC.

Sounds like fair and rationale criticism to me. Also sounds like a guy tweeting about traffic… So under what circumstances are you the cool guy in an exchange where someone says “well THIS sure seems to be a dumb use of public resources that is inconveniencing the citizens of the city” and you respond with “oh yea? REMEMBER WHEN YOU SEND DICKPICS TO GIRLS ON THE INTERNET? BURN!”

Wtf, people…

Worse is the adoption of this one photo of Weiner scowling that has become the go-to clipart in hit pieces on him, similar to the Bill O’Reilly cry-face.

I admit that I always liked Congressman Weiner so maybe i’m being blind to what is fair dialog and treatment of a public figure in such circumstances but I think it’s gratuitous to randomly keep recycling a sexting scandal when the dude talks about anything as non-related as unnecessary street closures.

Pick your battles, Republicans. Save your fire for the bullies, not the Weiners.

Woman Driver steps out onto road, casually strolls while still-moving car glides into oncoming traffic

Driving in souther California is annoying because of the traffic, bad drivers, and illegal immigrants populating the roads as it is but it’s an extra annoying day when people just slow down and exit their still running car, leaving it to continue rolling down the road and over the divider and into the oncoming traffic lanes, hitting several cars in the process. What in the actual balls, SoCal?

The only thing better than the fact that this was captured on video by a dashcam is the haunting foreign language serenade underscoring this bizarre event as it unfolds in real time.

Notice that the woman isn’t running in distress or to the side of the road at all… When she exits she casually continues walking the direction her now driverless vehicle is continuing. Betch needs one of those treadmill keys that cuts the power if you fall off or a surfboard tether or SOMEthing.

No information on why the eff she did this.

The driver of the Hyundai was identified as 22-year-old Jasmine Lacey. She was taken to a hospital for “a non injury-related reason,” according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Lacey was never charged with a crime. The drivers of the two SUVs suffered minor injuries.

The only theories I can come up with that make sense to me are 1- the obvious “on drugs, or suffering from other mental incapacitating ailment” (in which case I guess we need to fight the auto-unions with the same diligence as those do when going after the NRA when drugged or mentally sick people gain access to firearms and do horrible things with them) or 2- she was in a captive situation and assigned a task that would put her deeper in the hole of an already shady situation (like a drug run or some other forced errand) and “getting into a car accident” was a non-“calling the police” way to get law enforcement involved in her plight. In that case – she shouldn’t have endangered other peoples lives and made sure the car was pointing toward something stationary without humans around before pulling the stunt.

What’s your theory?…

Finally, someone gets electronics storing travel clothes right

I’ve been underwhelmed with similar “pockets for your electronics” clothes items that think they’re amazingly clever for including basic additions to normal fashion that would have been cool at the turn of the millennium but 10+ years later are yawn-worthy. Like – oh, you have a blazer with an oversized pocket to put an iPad in? okay I guess. A hoodie with a cloth tunnel to feed your earbuds wire through? eh… not really interested.

Finally it appears that someone has assembled all the right nooks and cubbies into normal looking neutrally stylish clothes.

The crowdfunded campaign on Kickstarter sought $20,000 and currently have almost $8 Million in pre-ordered sales so I’m not the only one who thinks they did something right.

From a marketing perspective, the campaign does what I have been saying needs to be done for utility clothing items like this and that is to bill them as utility items with demonstrations. Too often these types of products try to be stylish first and “look how you can fit stuff in it” second. That’s lame. People will buy a hoodie with a million secret compartments for the million-secret-compartments and then it looking and functioning nice will be secondary – not the reverse scenario where a new non-label hoodie is in need and “oh look, it has unconventional pockets…”. Billing itself for travel is key to the success. Travel makes us feel helpless, unprepared, and cumbersome in our availability of stuff we want on our person. I have a somewhat similar product design going through a review process currently making a similar utility appeal. These things have a subconscious super hero feel to them: sit in comfort with your built-in neck pillow reverse airbag, lower your eye-mask like Iron Mans face plate, whip out your drink from your Batman utility pocket, and pop in your ear buds from within your Captain America helmet. The video does a great job of showing off ease and function in an “always be prepared” style of Awesome.

I laughed out loud at that zipper pen stylus scene tho…

“looking for one of these?… *gets laid immediately*”

It also looks like this kind of techno dance music is the go-to score for crowd funded tech. It’s fun and gets you excited by strategically rolling out the features at a linear pace that tells a story and reels you in with the perfect “but wait, theres MORE” info-mercial tactics. The Lily cam I bought (see: pre-ordered) a few months ago hooked me with the same hypnotizing must-havezes.

Why I hope Joe Biden runs for President (and why you should too)

The country and the world would be in such better shape under a Biden, instead of Obama presidency.

Joe Biden ran for president in 2008, but his experience and policies didn’t make for appealing enough figureheads as having that center-left view come from a mouth that was attached to either a woman or a brown skinned guy so Biden was iced out and America missed out.

Any number of VP choices in a Biden administration in 2008 would have worked fine but I actually think a Biden/Obama administration would have done immense good for the country because while the frank speaking non-phony competent negotiator knowledgable elder statesman who actually likes working in politics was in the top position, the political neophyte that doesn’t like actually working in politics

Instead, the appropriate positions are reversed and the country has had 7-ish years of a petulant manchild president who doesn’t negotiate, doesn’t compromise, doesn’t care what his constituents actually want, is easily butthurt, wastes time, wastes money, and a completely wasted Vice President doing little outside of make an occasional gaffe or other screw-up. What a tragic waste of truly great potential.

Now, the country might get a 3rd chance to reject Joe Biden (he ran for president in the 80s as well as 08 and would face an uphill climb promoting what would be perceived to be a 3rd term to an unpopular Obama administration full of unpopular policies, minus the only thing about the administration that *is* consistently popular – Barack Obama).

I hope Biden runs even though I will feel bad for him losing. He’s the only potential 2016 candidate on the Democratic side besides Jim Webb (the fact that you just said “who?” says all it needs to in that regard) who isn’t either a phony (sorry, Hillary fans – Update: sorry x2) or fruitcake (sorry Bernie fans) and would add sanity and honesty to an otherwise circus style primary and general election that no one needs this year in particular.

Update: Poll: While Clinton struggles with ‘liar’ tag, voters find Biden ‘honest’

Comedian Barry Crimmins inadvertently got me kicked off AOL in the 90s

A mystery in my life has been solved almost 20 years later and it turns out AOL was an even worse company in the 90s than I thought…

You younglings may not even know this but in the 1990s, before AOL (“America OnLine”) was a low-end video creator and distributor, it was the only way just about anyone could connect to the internet. As the biggest and often only internet service provider for what is now known as “dial up” but then was just known as “the only internet that exists”, AOL had a monopoly on access to the world wide web.

I was kicked off AOL at least 3 times. And by “I” that of course means my family since I was a minor using a screen name under their account. The stories of each kick-off is worth its own post but the summary is that they were forms of “spam” (soliciting invites through instant messages for people to add themselves to my free Jokes and humor email newsletter) and “harassment” (getting baited by someone in a chatroom picking a fight and then responding, only to have them report me while they got away with their more egregious use of bullying profanity). Those cases were ridiculous reasons to cancel my families internet service and force them to use a different name and credit card to re-ignite with new screen names at much inconvenience to everyone – but at least I was actually technically violating their stupid “TOS” (Terms of Service). The last time I got banned, I did nothing wrong. I just recently Sherlock Holmesed the reason why…

Barry Crimmins is a comedian who is the subject of a new documentary by Bobcat Goldthwait titled Call Me Lucky and while plugging it on the Adam Carolla podcast, he told a story covered in the movie that made me realize why I was kicked off AOL and how it is 100% his fault.

If the stupid reasons I was previously banned weren’t hinting enough: AOL was a supremely bad company in the 90s. It’s customer service was bad, its actual-service was bad, it raped you on fees, constantly had virus problems, let spam run nearly unfiltered into your email inbox, spammed your real-life mailbox with trial membership discs, and would ban you from their service if you said a curse word in a chat room or someone on instant message reported you after not liking what you said.

There was one niche they evidently serviced super well though, according to Crimmins: pedophiles.

I would get perverts messaging me all the time wanting to “cyber” which meant “cyber sex” which meant “type out sexual things and I guess masturbate in between typing while imagining what the other person is typing back at you” but Crimmins tells of darker experiences. Evidently AOL was a haven for not just the easy solicitation of sex talk but the actual dissemination of child pornography. The tale of Crimmins battle against the company is worth hearing in interviews and watching in the documentary but the point is that AOL was allegedly turning a blind eye toward child abuse because it made them millions. Pre-teen entrepreneurial douches like me were just causing a ruckus for other paying members so we were easy to kick off the service – but child pornographers were only sharing their filth amongst themselves so there was no disgruntled customer to report to AOL. But even when Crimmins went undercover and DID report the people trying to solicit whom they thought was a child, AOL still did nothing because there was just too much money involved in these people paying for their service to trade their kiddie abuse media.

GROSS: So you wrote repeatedly to AOL and asked them to shutdown these pedophile chat rooms.

CRIMMINS: Right, and they were making a lot of money on it, so they just filed a – because in – back in those days the modems were really slow. And so it took, like, a half-hour to upload a, you know, low-grade picture.

GROSS: We’re talking dial-up era.

CRIMMINS: Right, right, and so it took a long time to upload each photo and all these – and then if you’re on AOL for more than 12 hours or something a month, they started charging you $3 or $4 an hour. So when you find, you know, thousands of people that are, you know, in the same chat rooms all the time or you find that one of the chat rooms that are named thusly – I mean, like anyone else, when I first went in there I just said what – are you people out of your minds? And they started talking to me about the First Amendment and stuff. And as Andrew Vachss said, you know, you can mug somebody and try to call it performance art, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get away with it. And I just realized – you know, I would go in there as an adult, you know, with my own AOL name and people would just start sending me child pornography immediately. Like, no sort of – they just, oh, that’s what you’re here for, here. And they expected you to send child pornography back to them. And so I immediately contacted AOL and they said, oh, thank you very much for being, you know, a bunch of corporate – good citizen of our community, blah, blah, blah. But as time passed and I watched the problem grow exponentially, their answers became, you know, they – the back and forth between us just became more and more ridiculous.

After a public slog against the company involving a testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee., Crimmins evidently finally got AOL to take child rape seriously… and in doing so, he got an innocent mid-90s Richard kicked off the service yet again, much to his continued disgrace.

The last time I was banned from the America Online service it was for going in a chatroom. For years I was baffled at wtf happened and thought it had to have been a coincidence and that the AOL Feds had just caught me for some snarky comment or profane one-liner I had said in a chatroom prior to then. But finally now after hearing Crimmins tell his story and matching the timelines, it makes sense WTF happened to me.

I had heard from the kid sitting in front of me in school make the ludicrous claim that “if you go into private chatroom PICS, your account gets deleted”…

Um…right. This is so wrong it couldn’t be more wrong, I told him. That is dumb upon dumb. I knew first had that AOL had horribly fascistic policies on wantonly killing their customers accounts, but there was no way that entering a chat room would get your account canceled. I had heard of some chat rooms being banned in the sense that if you typed them in then it wouldn’t let you access the room, but there was just no damn way that you would be allowed in a room and then denied service on your whole account just for going to private room “pics”. That’s it. PICS. Not “Pics of government secrets” or “pics of death fantasies involving elected officials” – just pics. As in, short for “pictures”. Or maybe an acronym for something unrelated to photography. Who knows. You could make a private chatroom of any series of letters and numbers.

I couldn’t wait to prove him wrong so that day I got home, logged into AOL and after about 30 minutes of waiting for it to frigging connect, went to “Enter A Private Chat Room” and typed in PICS…

“GOODBYE” said the AOL voice as the software closed all windows and kicked me offline.
No… freakin… way…
Okay, so there was some kind of hack that someone in the PICS room used to kick offline anyone who entered. That had to be it. There was a thing called Punting that used a program that would bomb the instant messengers in AOL and that would disconnect them so I thought for sure it was a version of that.

No, dude. I could not reconnect. The dreaded “Please call this number” cancelled membership message appeared when I tried to connect. I was screwed. and this time I legitimately did nothing wrong!

Now, after hearing Crimmins tell his tale against the company during exactly that time, it seems way more obvious: The chat room was almost surely a meeting place for AOL pedophiles and AOL had just switched from a “90 strikes and maybe we’ll talk about you possibly being out” policy on rapists to more of a “Zero tolerance for anyone who does anything not identified with anything illegal but that a pedophile also previously did” and that chat room must have been infested with pedo-creeps and thus condemned. There is no confirmation that this is the case, but given Crimmins storytelling of the time, it sounds like AOL just started mass-deleting accounts with suspected activity instead of going through the trouble of doing word searches or an actual investigation or something that a company that wasn’t horrible might do.

So thanks for nothing, Barry Crimmins. In saving countless children from having their abuse flaunted on the internet, you ruined several weeks for a young Richard.

Reminder: Holocaust victims weren’t killed in ovens…

I hate to go and ruin the fun in historical acts of genocide, but this seemingly minor detail of a myth is one worth straightening out: victims of the Nazi’s weren’t killed in ovens.

This historical correction comes on the heels of a quote getting buzz by critics of Mike Huckabee who, in a condemnation of the Obama administrations nuclear deal with Iran (a nation dedicated to “wiping Israel off the map” in one way or another).

The actual quote isn’t anything remarkable, but got a lot of coverage because of the specific holocaust reference he used.

“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people. I read the whole deal. We gave away the whole store. It’s got to be stopped.”

As a political story, this doesn’t interest me because there’s no reason it should. The Left tried to exploit it as a big deal. It was misconstrued as every Nazi-related analogy is. Other 2016 Primary Republicans had to play the “agree or disagree with what the Left says is a big deal” game (Rick Santorum said right-onJeb Bush said tone it down). Huckabee doubled down on the sentiment. blah blah blah.

But what no one is mentioning in any of the coverage is the misleading history in the comment. Jews weren’t “marched to the ovens” in the holocaust. Ovens weren’t a method of slaughter.

It’s an easy mix-up to make since the holocaust is known for mass killing and mass body burning, so skipping over the part where the bodies were dead and mashing it with the part where people were murdered in unconventional methods is a common jumble. I used to be one of the mixer-uppers. Around 2008 when I was baking a pizza and I opened the lid, causing the wave of heat to hit me in the face, I had an immediate empathic PTSD-style flashback of how holocaust victims had to have felt dying this way. Everyones worst way to die is burning, and even if you’re not claustrophobic – the addition of being in a casket sized space is a tremendous horror. Everyone who has had a loved one cremated has had their mind go to the morbid “what if” thought of their own death being misdiagnosed somehow and waking up just as they were being put into the crematory oven. *shudder*

Survivors of the Dachau concentration camp demonstrate the operation of the crematorium by preparing a corpse to be placed into one of the ovens. Dachau, Germany, April 29-May 10, 1945. Credit.

But if there’s a bright side to horrific senseless mass murder, there is the comfort that this didn’t happen in the concentration camps of the holocaust. Back when I had my pizza vision, I looked up how many people died this way and could only find one or two instances of a prisoner being put into a crematorium oven alive as a special punishment.

I blame for this myth, the intentionally-offensive joke regarding exactly this connection between the best thing on earth (pizza) and the worst thing on earth (burning alive) that goes “Q: What’s the difference between a Jew and a pizza? A: the pizza doesn’t scream when you put it in the oven.” Womp womp. But you’ll be shocked to find out that the normally reliable factually rigorous nature of anti-semitism has, in this instance, failed on accuracy. Idk about you, but I did Nazi that coming.

But for real, guys: Victims murdered by the Nazi’s were shot or gassed to death en masse. Their bodies were carried to crematoriums afterward. Yet a lot of people, evidently a 2016 Presidential candidate included, seem to think mass oven killing went on in the holocaust.

While Huckabee didn’t explicitly state the historical inaccuracy, it’s implied in the term “marching to the door” and he continued the implication that people were murdered by ovens when commenting on the comment afterward:

“When I talked about the oven door, I have stood at that oven door,” he said. “I know exactly what it looks like, 1.1 million people killed. For 6,000 years, Jews have been chased and hunted and killed all over this Earth, and when someone in a government says we’re going to kill them, I think, by gosh, we better take that seriously.”

It’s the Iranians who used the word Holocaust first, Huckabee said, and refused during the negotiations to recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

“They refused to tone down their rhetoric and said the Holocaust did not exist and that they’re going to wipe Israel off the map,” he said. “When people in a government position continue to say they’re going to kill you, I think somebody ought to wake up and take that seriously.”

Not withstanding dopiness of his Appeal to Authority fallacy in saying he saw the ovens in person (and I saw them on a Bing search alongside disturbing juxtapositions of actual ovens. So what?)…


-the rest of what he said is at least accurate. Iran brought up the holocaust first so if someone thinks the Obama deal with Iran empowers the enemy-state (as it does) then it’s not a wildly off base comment – just in-artfully stated (he should have said that it potentially makes such a march, not that it does).


This Selfie-Drone will be following me in the air next year

Finally someone started making the “flying camera that follows you” that I invented 10 years ago.

I bought one but it won’t ship until February 2016.

I’ll be interested to see more of the cam in actual action and testing but so far most searches turn up videos of girls name Lily singing songs I never heard of, dogs named Lily with GoPro’s strapped to them, and various less-wholesome cam related activity.

The Tim Burton Superman movie starring Nick Cage that almost was

A $30 million Superman movie that was planned to be made and released in the late 1990’s but never got completed has been the subject of interesting rumor for years and is now the subject of a crowdfunded documentary finally released. I have been following the rumors for years and the making of the documentary since it was announced last year and just finally watched it.

My reaction is that I would have utterly hated Tim Burtons vision of Superman, but I desperately wish he got to make it. I hate all the Superman movies, so that’s no big D. I would have hated this one for the same reasons I think the Christopher Reeve versions are campy garbage and the 2000’s attempts are melodramatic wastes trying too hard to suck the joy out of a fun character and go for a “realistic” emotional disaster drama. Yawn.

The movie would have focused on a version of the Death of Superman story, which in the 90s was a big deal and would have been a big draw on film. In the comics, Superman is confronted by a new character named Doomsday who, like Soops, is similarly indestructible but bent on killing everything. They fight for awhile, weakening each other in a meta-bar room brawl similar to the way Soops vs Zod was depicted in the most recent iteration Man of Steel until finally they punch each other to death in a mutual loss. Superman is buried and then there’s a couple offshoot storylines where a kid, a cyborg, and a couple other pretenders to the throne try to take the mantle until Superman comes back, now with long black hair and a black uniform. Turns out Superman was only dead-in-name-only by being beaten into a recovery hibernation mode and was able to be revived in the Fortress of Solitude and returned at a weaker power mode to save the day like always.

For a good depiction of the story, I recommend the animated 2007 film Superman: Doomsday.

So in 1996 Warner Bros gave Kevin Smith the opportunity to write a screenplay for either a movie version of The Outer Limits (a forgettable Twilightzone ripoff), a Bettlejuice sequel titled “Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian” (finally answering the questions posed in the first Beetlejuice of “but what would he be like in a tropical setting?”) or friggin Superman (an American icon and comic book legend). Smith picked that one and wrote a script where the alien Brainiac invades the Fortress of Solitude (fighting polar bears in the process) and deprives Superman of his powers, allowing the whole come-back thing and so on.

Tim Burton signed on to direct and retooled the vision entirely ditching Smiths script for a more….Burtonesque approach.

The comics at the time had Superman looking like this:

Long haired sortov mullet, buffed out, boxy Termantor style chin and cheek bones.

This is what Tim Burton had in mind:

It sucks that we were so close to getting a Superman Scissorhands movie and it all fell apart with its budget going to the 1999 Will Smith flop, Wild Wild West.

Warner Bros really dropped the ball here by that fact alone. Because even if Burtons Superman movie flopped, 1) it wouldn’t have been as low as Wild Wild West, and 2) it would have had decades long staying power as an item of interest (where as WWW faded to obscurity outside of notation of its financial and critical negative reception). It would have been the utmost of cool to have the 90s Batman movie series directed by Burton cross over with Superman in a combo sequel like Warner is trying to accomplish with Batman vs Superman in 2016.

And to make it even more deliciously bizarre, the Man of Steel was to be played by real-life SuperWeirdo Nicolas Cage, of whom test footage exists to drool over.

All this and more is in the previously mentioned documentary “The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened” which I just watched. It’s okay. There are animated recreations of storyboards and concepts from the original treatments that I wanted to see much more of, the story isn’t told in an easily discernable beginning-middle-end like I would have appreciated, and the directors distracting head nodding while his interview subjects speak on the topics raised could have been drastically cut for my tastes, but the base material is good and its a good watch for comic, Cage, Smith, or Burton fans.

Here’s the trailer:

If that sort of thing appeals to you, watch the first 10 minutes below and consider buying the full doc itself:

Image credits: the Death of Superman Lives

Why This Stupid Confederate Flag Debate is Stupid

The Confederate flag should not be praised by the government and it should not be banned by it either. There’s nothing inherently wrong about the flag but it has been used for bad causes, giving the symbol a negative connotation. Thus the answer is the first sentence of this paragraph: Government is right to not endorse its use and hippies are wrong to blanketly demonize its use.

There. I solved your stupid non-problem.

How did I accomplish such a marvel? Behold, the rudimentary use of facts + situational reality. Tada!
The truth is that the flag is used as mind-numbingly ignorant symbol of un-american attitude of separation, segregation, hate, ignorance, and bad ideas in general, but also — none of that… Because the other truth is that it’s used as a legitimate symbol of history and heritage without any racial connotations whatsoever.

Dukes of Hazzard stuff is now banned due to history revisionism about the Confederate flag in the past week.

I think “pride” in the flag, or any other exclusively regional symbols, is dumb. But who cares? You’re dumb for caring. Or more likely, just ignorant. I’ve been interrogating Confederate flag supporters for over a decade trying to understand why any toolbag dummy would embrace it and while I disagree with the rationale I always receive, it’s not fair to lump the common arguments in with bigots, haters and truly evil people that include murderers and violently wicked humans.
Most often I hear displayers of the Confederate flag talk about pride in history. Which would be fine, except that history is about a war that caused an obscene amount of death that was largely over a dispute regarding the allowability of the ownership of human beings as property. and it lost. So… you’re telling me you’re proudly representing a period of historical bloodshed in the name of legal enslavement of humans that caused immense suffering and negative historical repercussions despite being an ultimate failure because….your family tree at certain points in history lived in the geographical area in which this horrible event took place? Are you THAT friggin tribal and stupid?

That’s *my* reaction at least. even though I know some of it is fairly dubious, such as the more ambiguous role that slavery played in the Civil War. My position on that has always been that yes, the war was about slavery, but yes, it is factually accurate to note the real-life conflicts of the issue and reason there was a separation attempt and ensuing war.  But despite acknowledging the nuances of the historical record – the fact remains that slavery was AN issue if not THE issue and since it’s immoral – why would you want to fly a flag that went to war to defend against encroachments into that immoral institution?

It shows you the heart of anti-americanism in the Hippie mind when they call Confederate Flag wavers racists but defended the fighters in Iraq with the emotional relation appeal trope, saying “what would YOU do if Iraq invaded YOUR city?”. So to some dummies, it’s only okay to fight and murder encroachers into your immoral bondage of innocents if you’re not American. To everyone else – we think that regardless of the prudence of resuming the Iraq war of the 90s again in the 2000s, that like the south in the Civil War – the people defending their state were resisting forces that are there to make things better for everyone. So yes we get why they feel put upon – they’re jerks. What jerk loves to be corrected or told they have to follow the same rules of decency as everyone else? Why would you lionize a losing team that fought in protection of a thing you recognize is bad?

It seems painfully obvious to me but the response I get to this reaction raises some points, not all of which are illegitimate. Bearers of the flag always tell me that no, they are not celebrating the causes of the war or it’s goal, but yes they are representing their geographical location and that that area of the globe and heritage, losing side or not – regardless of the immoral reason behind it – was the center of a lot of death and horror that people suffered through, not all of which because they were adamant supporters of slavery. I think geographical representation is dopey, but no one else does, so if you don’t think it’s horrible to feel a sports-team style kinship with your state, then there’s no reason to do so in a collection of states.

And that’s all the confederate flag is. The problem is not what it *is*, it’s what it *can be*. And it *can be* a symbol of racism, “white pride”, pro-slavery, and any other number of subsets having to do with unjust separation of races. This is why there is a conservative and liberal divide over the issue: Liberals see things in black and white (despite liking to think of themselves as doing otherwise) and thus anything that they view as possibly racist IS racist and unless it is exterminated it is contributing to “racist culture” which a large government must remedy by force. Conservatives, being less collective and more individualistic, see things more individually and draw generalizations from patterns instead of starting with a blanket rule with which to retroactively apply to everyone in all time periods. It’s how Hillary Clintons and Barack Obama can get away with being firmly against re-defining “marriage” to include same sex unions just 3 years ago but now act like only Hitler would ever say such a thing. Likewise with the flag, people selectively choose at what time a trending buzz about the meaning of a symbol dominated and retroactively apply it to all time. Only when it’s politically expedient to try to marginalize it’s opponents as bigots in order to gain power does the Left suddenly realize a position or symbol is unjust. Many people go along with it because following the herd on an issue is most natural when there are emotional appeals involved that don’t motivate resistance or opposition research. Everyone else points out the group think of the herd and is perplexed that people are actually just going along with the history revision that the flag unequivocally means horrible things. Never mind that that unequivication is brand-new (causing awkward blind-eyes to have to be turned about that time Governor Bill Clinton commemorated the Confederacy Star in the Arkansas flag or that campaign supporters for both Bill in 1992 and Hillary in 2008 distributed completely non-controversial Confederate Flag promotional items).



In the reality of cold-hard-facts, there isn’t anything actually wrong with the flag. It’s not a synonymous symbol with racism or hate or the KKK – it’s a symbol of region of the country during an event that happened that was a massively big deal, forever affecting the country and what it is and what it stands for and thereby affecting world history in a major way. Remembering that with visual representation is not a bad thing. Yes, one has to deal with the fact that haters, racists, and the official organization of the KKK cult do in fact use that flag in all of those bad ways. They fly it not because they give a fig about remembering an event or because they’re such southern-state pride-ists that they want to display a symbol of their home – they see that flag as a symbol of a glorious event in where brave men gave their lives for the noble cause of keeping the negro in chains where they belong. Since that association isn’t a direct parallel, the problem becomes “what do we do when a symbol is co-opted?”.

As with every case where a symbol is used by a group, the rest of us have to decide how to respond. The Republican party is represented by an elephant. That doesn’t mean Democrats can’t enjoy a nice National Geographic special on pachyderms. Gay pride is represented by a rainbow. That doesn’t mean we forever have to associate rainbows and rainbow colors exclusively with homosexuality. The reason is because the factual reality is that groups don’t own symbols that pre-existed them. The sociological reality is that people associate things with what is familiar to them.

There are dumb reasons that are no more dumb than reasons of history and pride that aren’t objected to, and no we shouldn’t give in to any one group claiming exclusive representation to an image or symbol (and especially not if it’s a co-opt to a bad idea like Racism), but who cares?

The whole non-issue and it’s debate is stupid. The people acting like it’s a big deal whose repealing will have any affect over anything positive whatsoever are being dumb and the people who act like the importance of proud display over it is a big deal whose act is accomplishing literally anything positive whatsoever are being dumb.

My diagnosis: Stop being dumb.

Repeat after me:
The Confederate flag should not be praised by the government and it should not be banned by it either. There’s nothing inherently wrong about the flag but it has been used for bad causes, giving the symbol a negative connotation. Thus the answer is the first sentence of this paragraph: Government is right to not endorse its use and hippies are wrong to blanketly demonize its use.

It’s painfully obvious: More, not less guns, are the solution to gun murders

It’s getting hard to respect people who don’t realize that more, not less guns, are the solution to gun murders in America.

In other smaller, less free nations without equivalents to the 2nd amendment there may be different and better ways of going about pursuit of solution. The stats would appear to disagree with that, considering the gun deaths in other nations seem to rise in response to more gun restrictions, but no one seems to want to explore that very much. In England for example, gun deaths went up after more stringent gun laws were put in place, but that stat is ignored by the popular consensus to instead just focus on the fact that England has lower gun deaths than the United States. This is a comparison I’ve never understood the relevancy of when applied to America ever since Michael Moore used it in 2002’s Bowling For Columbine, but it remains appealing to people for whatever reason.

The answer to bad things people do in a free country is more freedom for civilians to police the bad things, not less freedom in attempts to stop bad things.

Did you hippies learn nothing from Star Wars? Lea tells Governor Tarkin that the more he tightens his grip, “the more star systems will slip through your fingers“. Where there is abhorrent speech in a country without government restriction on free speech, the Right answer (coincidentally both the “right” answer as in “correct” but also “right-wing”) is more speech to correct, shame, and ultimately overwhelm it. The Wrong answer is the Left’s answer, which is to remove speech they deem abhorrent, or potentially abhorrent, or just not 100% Leftist (thereby allegedly eliminating the path to potentially abhorrent thought or speech). It’s crazy totalitarianism when it comes to thoughts and speech but it’s downright dangerous when it comes to deadly weapons and self protection.

If your country has a right to firearms, then similarly like a country with a right to free expression – the answer to the bad parts is more good parts. More guns don’t automatically, mathematically equal Less Crime, but in the context of a free firearm owning nation the formula is solid.

Yet consistently, whenever there is a highly covered murder where guns are used, the emotional/politically-Leftist side of the country calls for more restriction on gun rights. The emotional appeal is obvious, but logically bananas (nonsensical).

At the time of this writing, the latest issue to spark this debate is a racially motivated murder of 9 people at a church in Charleston South Carolina. How would more gun laws have stopped this murder?
-By banning “assault rifles”? Nope; An assault rifle was not used in the murder.
-By instituting more strict gun registration laws? Nope; The gun used in the murder was not registered in accordance with the law.
-By outlawing the right to carry a gun? Nope; South Carolina doesn’t have concealed-carry laws or any carrying of a firearm without a permit.
-By banning guns inside churches (where the murder took place)? Nope; guns are already not allowed in churches in South Carolina.

I don’t know why this is shocking to you hippies, but: Murderers break laws. It’s unfortunate, but true. The bumper sticker “if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns” is undeniably accurate since laws only affect the people who abide by them. When people break those laws, the knee-jerk reaction to make more laws to break is not intelligent. The proper response is to make breaking laws a horrible risk for lawbreakers in proportion to the crime. When the crime is murder, the risk of your attempt being thwarted by your injury or death should be raised, not lowered. The only way to raise the risk of injury or death to someone using a projectile weapon is to have other projectile weapons ready to be used against that rogue A-hole.

(Sign that appears at an Arkansas Christian Academy with armed teachers)

There is only one answer: Restricting the right to firearm ownership all together. This obvious point of mine was even echoed by none other than Karl Rove sparking a whole new debate but the base of it is true: you can’t have a country with an engrained right to firearms and no firearm deaths.

You have to repeal the right or reduce the deaths with safety and a balance of powers from armed law abiding citizens to balance the armed criminals. Those are the only options. Since repeal isn’t in the cards – more, not less guns are the answer to rampage shootings.