jump to navigation

Highlights from the past few months of gun-related news October 16, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

I haven’t managed to post any of these for a while, but that’s not for lack of material.

A first grader who found his grandmother’s loaded gun at school this spring pointed it at another student[…] [Vicky] Nelson was allowed to carry the weapon as part of the district’s concealed-carry plan adopted last year to arm administrators and select staff members to protect students from potential gun violence.” Sounds like that “put more guns in reach of small children” plan is going swimmingly.

Police say the two children broke into a locked bedroom, took a semi-automatic pistol out of a drawer, and were playing when the gun discharged. [The 10-year-old died.] Capri says the homeowners were legally able to own the gun and ‘did what they felt necessary to secure the firearm.'” Gun security should be regulated by laws, because obviously “feelings” aren’t cutting it.

A Texas police officer confronted by a loose dog pulled out his gun and opened fire [August 1], missing the animal and striking a woman standing nearby, killing her.” In the chest. No, the dog was not that tall. Either his aim is so bad that he has no business being a cop, or he’s lying, he meant to shoot the unarmed pedestrian, and he has no business being a cop.

‘He didn’t just die down there did he?’ an officer asked minutes after 32-year-old Tony Timpa lost consciousness while being restrained by police. ‘I hope I didn’t kill him.'” Justice for Tony Timpa.

“Ten days after he testified in the murder trial of a former Dallas police officer [Amber Guyger, finally convicted off murdering Botham Jean], key witness Joshua Brown was gunned down at his apartment complex.” Justice for Joshua Brown.

“A black woman was shot and killed by a white police officer in her Fort Worth, Texas home after a neighbor called dispatchers to report the woman’s front door was open, police said. The officers were searching the perimeter of the woman’s home when they saw a person standing near a window inside and one of them opened fire. […] She died at 2:30 a.m. Saturday in the bedroom of her home.” Justice for Atatiana Koquice Jefferson.

“…data from the 15 years following the [assault weapon ban]’s expiration now provide stronger evidence that permitting the gun industry to flood the market with increasingly powerful weapons that allow for faster killing has facilitated exactly that outcome. In the decade after the ban, there was a 347 percent increase in fatalities in gun massacres, even as overall violent crime continued downward.”

Advertisements

Sorry, liberals, there are only 23,328 genders August 6, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

[Boag] was shocked at the size of this population, which he’d never before encountered in his time as a queer historian of the American West. Trans people have always existed all over the world. So how had they escaped notice in the annals of the Old West?” (Some not-well-thought-out use of the phrase “assigned sex”, but worth reading anyway.)

““M” and “F” didn’t always appear on the federal identity document. In fact, sex was not directly listed on U.S. passports until 1977.

“I believe that gender reassignment surgery is a right but I didn’t know what surgery would mean for me. […] Even my friends who’d had the procedure couldn’t really explain what would happen, so I made my decision without proper information about possible outcomes. I’m writing this essay to offer a small window so that other trans girls have more information than I did.

“‘He was rightly classified as a man’ in the medical records and appears masculine, Stroumsa said. ‘But that classification threw us off from considering his actual medical needs.’

“And that, these devout fundamentalist Baptist women all knew and believed, was simply wrong. The life of the mother, they all knew — with utter confidence and moral certainty — was more important than the potential life who wasn’t expected to survive this difficult pregnancy.

The idea that millions of sperm are on an Olympian race to reach the egg is yet another male fantasy of human reproduction.”

We couldn’t see the [Alzheimer’s] plaques in the brain until 10 years ago because we didn’t have the technology. So now that we have the technology to find the plaques, we actually understand that we probably misdiagnosed women forever. And that could be one of the reasons why some treatments don’t work that well in women.”

“Until the 1960s, scientists considered the idea of a cancer-causing virus to be preposterous. At the same time, more than 8,000 women a year were dying of cervical cancer, and researchers couldn’t figure out what was causing it. […] Way back in the 1950s, bacteriologist Sarah Stewart pioneered the concept that viruses could lead to cancer—and was almost thrown out of the scientific community for her heretical ideas.

There’s a species of fungus that has 23,328 distinct sexes. “Individuals of any sex are compatible for mating with all but their own sex. However, there are two genetic loci determining the mating type, locus A with 288 alleles and locus B with 81 alleles. A pair of fungi will only be fertile if they have different A and different B alleles; that is, each sex can enter fertile pairings with 22,960 others.” Sorry, liberals, there are only 23,328 genders. And 368 ways for these mushrooms to be gay.

We need stronger background checks, defective product recalls, and more prosecutions for trigger-happy cops July 1, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

There is “overwhelming evidence” that [deputy stationed at Stoneman Douglas] Peterson heard gunshots, but no evidence that he attempted to investigate. Peterson instead chose to hide near a stairwell as shots rang out on the campus, the report found.” (He’s getting charged — good — but way more harshly than cops who actually shoot innocent children — not good.)

Black family is held on gunpoint (and threatened with murder) by Phoenix police because a 4-year-old child took a dollar-store Barbie without paying. (Video.)

Shaquille Dukes was admitted into the hospital for double pneumonia. He received doctors orders to walk around the hospital. He was stopped by a racist security guard, who called racist cops. He was arrested and accused of trying to steal the IV machine.” (Video.)

“The authorities say they are investigating how Mr. Martin slipped through the cracks of the Illinois law, which the police might have been able to use to confiscate his handgun years ago. And the Illinois State Police said they were reviewing why an initial background check failed to turn up a criminal conviction that should have blocked him from buying the gun to begin with.”

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission can order the recall and repair of thousands of things, from toasters to teddy bears. If a defective car needs fixing, the U.S. Department of Transportation can make it happen. The Food and Drug Administration deals with food, drugs, and cosmetics. Only one product is beyond the government’s reach when it comes to defects and safety: firearms. Not even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can get defective guns off the market. If a gunmaker chooses to ignore a safety concern, there’s no one to stop it.”

“I shopped the killed piece around for a few days until it piqued the interest of a female editor at Politico, who accepted it as it was on spec. However, my piece was again passed on to a male editor to review — who asked me to change the premise of the piece to shift more of the blame for mass shootings on mental illness rather than toxic masculinity.”

Just to be clear: they’re concentration camps. June 29, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

And “horseshoe theory” — the idea that far-left rhetoric can loop back around and end up awfully close to far-right — is nicely demonstrated by this one person I saw on Twitter saying, in all apparent earnest, that maybe we shouldn’t use that phrase because it’s “appropriating Jewish culture.”

(Look, I am neither Jewish nor an expert in antisemitism, but anyone should be able to figure out the problem with that if they actually stop and think about it for 2 minutes before posting.)

Also, while I’m soapboxing? There is no measurable difference between “concentration camps” and “internment camps” and “forced detention camps.” It’s just a matter of how generous you’re trying to be toward the camp-runners.

“Children told lawyers that they were fed oatmeal, a cookie and a sweetened drink in the morning, instant noodles for lunch and a burrito and cookie for dinner. There are no fruits or vegetables. They said they’d gone weeks without bathing or a clean change of clothes.

Acting locally to help immigrants and refugees.”

There are amazing groups at the border and beyond doing critical work to defend the rights of immigrant and refugee children. If you can, please chip in to support a few of them today.”

A white American journalist tries to re-enter the country: “I told the officers I had nothing to hide, but I felt I had a professional obligation to call an attorney for further advice. Pomeroy said I could not because I wasn’t under arrest; I just wasn’t allowed to enter the United States. I wasn’t allowed to leave the Homeland Security zone, either. I know because I tried to sort of wander out a couple of times and got yelled at. When I actually tried to call a lawyer friend of mine in Austin, Pomeroy stopped me. They held onto my phone from then out.

“Even moderates like Susan Collins repeated assurances by the party’s pseudo-economists that the plan would not increase the deficit. So far, the growth feedback from the tax cuts has made up about 5 percent of the plan’s revenue loss, a mere 95 percent shy of the predictions.

The Cretaceous Period (145 to 66 million years ago) seashore in Alabama vs how Alabama voted in the 2016 election.”

“He recruited the best liars he could find—a group of prisoners at a Massachusetts penitentiary. For a small fee he asked half to tell the truth of their crimes on video and the other half to lie, saying they had committed someone else’s crime. He showed the videos to college students and police. Neither group did particularly well at truth detection (the average person is right about half the time), but the students performed better than the police. Yet the police felt more certain about their conclusions.”

Art, internet, & media (2000-foot paintings, million-dollar pixels, Bury Your Gays supercuts, and more) June 21, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

A nearly 2,000-foot-long thangka (a religious Buddhist painting) wraps around the interior walls of [the museum’s] second floor. The painting is one of the longest thangkas in the world. More than 400 Tibetan artists spent almost 30 years finishing the masterpiece.”

Fifteen years may not seem a long time, but in terms of the internet it is like a geological age. Some 40% of the links on the Million Pixel Homepage now link to dead sites. Many of the others now point to entirely new domains, their original URL sold to new owners.”

Have you ever wondered whether it’s possible to do anything on the web without JavaScript? How many sites use progressive enhancement in practice? Chris Ashton did an experiment to find out. ”

“I hope to raise the profile of difficulties faced by real people, which are avoidable if we design and develop in a way that is sympathetic to their needs. Last time, I navigated the web for a day with just my keyboard. This time around, I’m avoiding the screen and am using the web with a screen reader.

As far as we can tell (and trust us, we’ve looked everywhere) not one person has reported setting their eyes upon a Pornhub-branded truck. No one took to social media to let their friends know Pornhub had responded to their request and cleared their snow, or posted about spotting one somewhere in Boston.”

Video: the evolution of queerbaiting. With some startlingly overt pre-Hays-Code gay clips, the original context in which queerbaiting developed, and how the current mainstream handling of LGBTQ characters is aggravating in a whole new way.

“Or they could have had Lexa’s death not follow mere minutes after Clarke and Lexa had sex. After a season of potential growth, they finally came together – Clarke and Lexa were finally a couple, finally, clearly in love and DEATH.” A couple years old but still relevant, about series that actually include queer characters and then kill them off ASAP.

I literally googled “Bury Your Gays supercut” and found that exact video. (It’s a women-only cut, even.)

How to recognize fake AI-generated images” of faces. It’s gotten exponentially harder in the past five years.

Lack of representation is a failing of the wizarding world. We must first acknowledge this failing if we want to address it. Pretending Harry was not explicitly written as white in the canon is denying that there is a lack of representation in the wizarding world. Pretending Hermione was not explicitly written as white is denying that there is a lack of representation in the wizarding world.”

“Typewritten portraits” printed in The Strand, March 1909. Emoticons are older than the internet!

Depressing immigration link roundup June 4, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

She’s a toddler, so she can’t tell me if something bad happened to her. I don’t know if she thinks we chose to abandon her. All I know is she came back pounds thinner, with lice and a hacking cough, and she cried for days, traumatized by a government that keeps children from their parents because they are migrants.” [NYT]

“The Intercept’s and ICIJ’s reporting, which included a groundbreaking review of more than 8,400 reports describing placements of ICE detainees in solitary confinement, found that the immigration agency has used isolation cells to punish immigrants for offenses as minor as consensual kissing, and to segregate hunger strikers, LGBTQ detainees, and people with disabilities.

The Onion pulls no punches: “Saying the incident was so long ago that he had difficulty recalling the girl’s face, ICE agent Ed Thornton couldn’t believe he was being reprimanded Friday for a child who died months ago.

“We followed U.S. law, and asked for asylum at an official border crossing in El Paso, Texas. We were together for one night, and the following day they took him away. I begged them not to separate us. They told me, ‘You don’t have any rights here, and you don’t have any rights to stay with your son.’

Shootings of licensed veterans, random bystanders, children, and dogs; plus, non-gun police violence May 19, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

“The correction was too late for Mr. Bradford, whom the police initially identified as the culprit, only to change their story a day later. Mr. Bradford had not shot anyone, the Hoover police said, but was a licensed gun owner at a chaotic scene in the crowded mall.” Justice for Emantic Bradford.

A Navy veteran was shot and killed by Oregon cops after his pistol fell from a holster as he tried to break up a fight outside a bar, according to local reports.” Justice for Jason Washington.

“A Washington state family that survived the mass shooting last year at a Las Vegas concert says a neighbor shot and killed the dog they got to deal with stress and anxiety from the attack.

A former Texas police officer was found guilty of murder [in August 2018] for shooting into a car carrying a group of teenagers, killing a 15-year-old boy.”

“There have been 209 children killed or injured by a gun in 2019, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which compiles shooting incident data. In the past two days alone, two 4-year-old boys, one in Illinois and another in Ohio, were killed by gunfire.”

“Police sexual misconduct and cases of police sexual violence are often referred to as hidden offenses, and studies on police sexual misconduct are usually based on small samples […] While those numbers represent a fair portion of cases, arrests rely on a victim making a report and a law enforcement agency making that report public, after an arrest or otherwise. With sexual assaults by police officers, neither is guaranteed.”

[Police chief] Atesiano, along with Charlie Dayoub, Raul Fernandez and Guillermo Ravelo, conspired in various combinations to falsely pin four residential burglaries on a 16-year-old boy identified as T.D., two residential burglaries on a man later identified as Clarence Desrouleaux, and five vehicle burglaries on a man identified as Erasmus Banmah. All three are black.”

“Boone, 35, and two other officers, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27, threw a man to the ground and viciously kicked him and beat him with a riot baton, even though he was complying with their instructions. But the three police officers had no idea that the man was a 22-year police veteran working undercover, whom they beat so badly that he couldn’t eat and lost 20 pounds.

It is not yet clear what threat the 11-year-old girl may have posed to the off-duty officer as she walked away from him. Or how many steps she took before he unholstered his Taser.”

Comics & webcomics, throwbacks & updates May 9, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Can you maybe contextualize the Homestuck epilogue for someone who has never read Homestuck but is curious what all the hullabaloo is about? ”

Prototype Calvin and Hobbes strips, from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. (He used to be called Marvin!)

Marvin and Hobbes

“Comics and graphic novels bounced back from 2017’s sales slump to have their best year ever in 2018. […] For the first time, however, [comic shops] represent less than half the comcis market, when digital and crowdfunding are factored in.”

The Webcomic Reader Poll Data is here! Find out what your readers actually want to see from your webcomic! And which is better, webtoon or tapas?”

When a series you follow has a scheduled update, but the page isn’t finished yet, would you prefer the artist post a (readable) draft on-schedule and replace it when the finished strip is ready? Or forget the schedule and only post after it’s done?”

A reminder that you can install products from Adobe CS2 for free.

A solemn reminder of how dangerous artistic burnout can be, even when congoers are wonderful: “So many people, who’d never met my brother and didn’t even know his name, tried to save him, acting so quickly and earnestly. The staff and other attendees even formed a barricade to keep the walkways clear so that the paramedics could get to him, and transport him to the ambulance, as quickly as possible.”

Scamming the VA, supporting your kids without fraud, and socializing the oil industry May 1, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: ,
add a comment

It is a huge scandal that Congress has not yet instructed the IRS to automatically prepare taxes for the vast majority of Americans. The IRS has all the information required to do that for all but a few taxpayers, and the main reason it hasn’t to date is lobbying by companies like TurboTax and H&R Block.”

Still boggling over the discovery that the whole trope of the “welfare queen” is based on one ridiculously prolific scammer…who was Caucasian. (Scammers Georg had a bunch of other cons running, but, oddly enough, she’s only remembered for the welfare ones.)

79% of parents are providing financial support to their adult children. ‘And not just a little; the average was $7,000 a year,’ said Dychtwald. Merrill Lynch and Age Wave call this the ‘family bank.'” …That checks out. (Although thankfully my parents wouldn’t jeopardize their own financial security for their kids’ sake, and don’t need to.)

Many of the students who benefited did not know about the fraud being committed for them. In several instances, their parents endeavored to keep the payoffs and cheating secret, arranging false tests so the children would never know that their scores had been deceitfully obtained. The kids were fakes, and ignorant of that fact.” Now imagine how many schemes like this don’t get caught. How much unearned confidence is being actively pumped into rich kids, who can’t be self-critical about it because they don’t know.

Norway’s Government Pension Fund – Global is a tool to manage our petroleum wealth wisely and avoid the “resource curse”. From this it follows that the Fund is large and that it is invested overseas. A sensible management of oil-producing countries’ petroleum wealth in well-functioning financial markets is in everyone’s interest.” How socialism of the oil industry worked for Norway.

a [wordless agonized keening] type of link roundup March 23, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Key members of the Trump administration pushed a plan to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia in the months after the inauguration despite objections from members of the National Security Council and other senior White House officials.”

“A LT in the US Coast Guard was arrested [the week of Feb 20] for drug and gun charges. It looked like a run of the mill case until the detention memo filed yesterday. He had a hit list, contacts with white supremacists, guns, and, again, was [a Coast Guard] assigned to HQ.

“Contrary to a lot of guilt-tripping pleas for us all to take the bus more often to save the world, your individual choices are probably doing very little to the world’s climate. The real impact comes on the industrial level, as more than 70 percent of global emissions come from just 100 companies.”

“189 calls were made from 46 sites, raising new questions about working conditions. One ex-employee said ‘breakdowns [are] a regular occurrence’ at Amazon.

“London ended up with all of the gold and silver that should have gone directly to the Indians in exchange for their exports. This corrupt system meant that even while India was running an impressive trade surplus with the rest of the world – a surplus that lasted for three decades in the early 20th century – it showed up as a deficit in the national accounts because the real income from India’s exports was appropriated in its entirety by Britain.”

Trump’s shutdown [did] cost the U.S. economy $5 billion in lost output every two weeks it continues based on the administration’s own impact estimate. That’s $2.5 billion per week, $357 million per day, or $15 million per hour.”

Here’s a list of all the awful things done the Trump Administration has done so far. […] It’s also a reminder that policies enacted by the Trump Administration can be long lasting and cumulative, which is easy to forget in a political culture which jumps around from controversy to controversy, forgetting them as it goes.”