The Watering Hole: Monday, December 17, 2012 – Can We PLEASE Talk About Guns In Our Society Now?

On the morning of December 14, 2012, it was Newtown, Connecticut.
Before that it was Clackamas Town Center, Oregon.
Before that it was Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Before that it was Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Before that it was Aurora, Colorado.
Before that it was Seattle, Washington.
Before that it was Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Before that it was Oakland, California.
Before that it was Seal Beach, California.
Before that it was Carson City, Nevada.
Before that it was Tucson, Arizona.
Before that it was Manchester, Connecticut.
Before that it was Fort Hood, Texas.
Before that it was Binghamton, New York.
Before that it was Carthage, North Carolina.
Before that it was Northern Illinois University, Illinois.
Before that it was Kirkwood, Missouri.
Before that it was Omaha, Nebraska.
Before that it was Virginia Tech, Virginia.
Before that it was Salt Lake City, Utah.
Before that it was Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Before that it was Seattle, Washington.
Before that it was Red Lake, Minnesota.
Before that it was Brookfield, Wisconsin.
Before that it was Meridian, Minnesota.
Before that it was Fort Worth, Texas.
Before that it was Atlanta, Georgia.
And before that, on the morning of April 20, 1999, it was Littleton, Colorado.

These are all places where someone, or several someones, took a gun, or several guns, and began shooting people at some location, or several locations. Does this list strike you as being rather long? These are just ones since Columbine. There were others in between and before that. Many people died in those mass shootings. Too many. And too many were children. Far, far too many. And yet, we can’t seem to have that talk about all these mass shootings and the prevalence of guns in our society.

How many people have to die in mass shootings before we are allowed to talk Continue reading

The Watering Hole – Saturday, August 25, 2012 – Keep the Kids Out of This

Bill Nye, the Science Guy (@TheScienceGuy), has a video out called “Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children.” It was put out for BigThink.com. This week’s hat tip goes to LGF.:

Denial of evolution is unique to the United States. I mean, we’re the world’s most advanced technological—I mean, you could say Japan—but generally, the United States is where most of the innovations still happens. People still move to the United States. And that’s largely because of the intellectual capital we have, the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back, really.

Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology. It’s like, it’s very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You’re just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is just going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place.

As my old professor, Carl Sagan, said, “When you’re in love you want to tell the world.” So, once in a while I get people that really—or that claim—they don’t believe in evolution. And my response generally is “Well, why not? Really, why not?” Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution. I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they’re at a different point in their lifecycle. The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.

And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.

It’s just really hard a thing, it’s really a hard thing. You know, in another couple of centuries that world view, I’m sure, will be, it just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.

Directed / Produced by
Elizabeth Rodd and Jonathan Fowler [via LGF]

It wasn’t a belief in Creationism that gave this nation a reputation for being the best and richest country, that expanded it through the Industrial Revolution, that built the Interstate Highway System, that had twelve of its citizens walk on the surface of the Moon or that landed a nuclear-powered probe on the surface of Mars and broadcast pictures and other data back. It was a belief in Science that did all that, and without it, we would be no better off than those that live in deeply religious Third World countries.

If you have a child that really wants to study Science and Math, encourage him or her to do so. It’s not just our nation that needs more scientists, it’s the world. We are all in this together. The world’s climate problems are not going to be solved in such a way that we in the United States live and everyone else fends for themselves. Global problems require global solutions and global participation.

One of the biggest dangers to our country lies in our political system. We are a two-major-party country, and one of the two major parties simply does not believe in Science. Nor have they bothered to educate themselves on the subject and insist on just flat-out denying the inescapable conclusions of the men and women who have actually studied these things whenever they don’t like the results, as if Scientific Consensus meant whatever the uneducated-in-Science people thought was true. That’s not how Science works. A Scientific Consensus is the conclusion arrived at by Scientists, not the public. And not the Republican Party.

This is our open thread. Feel free to discuss any topic you want.

[Cross-posted at Pick Wayne’s Brain.]

Sunday Roast: Do we deserve to kill?


Earlier this week, The Rachel Maddow Show played a portion of the above TED Talk by Bryan Stevenson.  The Maddow Blog introduces Mr Stevenson:

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and part of his Big Idea is about kids in prison, and the country that keeps them there until they die (that’s us).  America is the only country in the world with kids serving life in prison without parole (LWOP) sentences for crimes they committed as children.  And that, Stevenson says, changes our identity as a country.  It changes us.

Rachel’s interview so moved me, that I had to hear him speak more fully, hence the above TED Talk, which was provided on Rachel’s blog.  Please watch the whole video, you won’t be sorry.

Part of this country’s identity is that we have the fifth highest rate of incarceration in the world, behind such countries as China and Iran, and the incarceration rate is abnormally high in this country among people of color.  We lock up children as young as 13 years old for life, for things they did before their brains are finished developing.  And please, to anyone reading this who thinks that because my bleeding liberal heart doesn’t believe in locking children up for life, then that means I believe no punishment should be given at all — get a friggin’ grip on reality, okay?

In this country, we are “treated better if we’re rich and guilty, than if we’re poor and innocent.”  He who can hire the best lawyer (or team thereof) has the best chances of getting that “not guilty” verdict, or at least a lighter sentence.  Wealth shapes outcome, that’s true, but it could also be said that social class and the color of one’s skin shapes outcome as well.

But we don’t like to think about those kinds of things in this country.  Hey, if it’s not happening to me or my family, why should I care?  America, love it or leave it!  We’re number one!!  American exceptionalism rules!!

Except when it doesn’t.  As long as there is inequality, suffering, discrimination, poverty, and hate in this country, none of us are free — let alone exceptional.

We are, above all, human.  Our humanity is the only thing we bring into the world, and our humanity (or the shreds thereof) are all we take out of this world.  Our humanity is all we have and all we are, and if we want to find a solution to the terrible social ills afflicting this country and the world, we should start there.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss amongst yourselves.

Watering Hole – June 27, 2011 – Teach Our Children Well

Words of wisdom from a great Native American;

~Chief Seattle
You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children that we have taught our children that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

What values are we teaching?

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

Sunday Roast: Homeless Children in America

Did you know there are over 1.6 homeless children in this country?  I sure as hell didn’t.  To say I’m shocked to the bone is an understatement.

Rich German has an article at Huffington Post that talks about this issue, and these are some of the stats:

  • Over 50% of youth in shelters and on the streets report that their parents told them to leave or knew they were leaving and did not care.
  • One IN four homeless youth come from the foster care system
  • 33% of heterosexual homeless youth have been sexually abused
  • Less than one in four homeless children will graduate from high school
  • Every day 12 kids die on the streets of America

Parents are throwing away their children — quite literally, throwing them away — and many of those children wind up abused, uneducated, and dead.  These children are part of the future of this country (minus the 12 who die on the streets everyday).

At the One Nation Working Together rally yesterday, a young man said, “If my neighbor is hungry, then I am hungry.  If my neighbor is homeless, then I am homeless.”

Regarding that same rally, Glenn Beck railed against the people and groups involved, saying “All of these groups, and the president of the United States, want nothing short of fundamental transformation of America.”

You’re damn right we do, Glenn Beck.  1.6 MILLION homeless children in this country is a deafening call for a fundamental transformation of this country.  The United States of America is one of the richest countries on the planet, and as long as our neighbors are sick, hungry, and homeless, ALL OF US are sick, hungry, and homeless.

This is our daily open thread.  What’s on your mind?

The Watering Hole: February 8 – WTF?

This story caught my eye. Almost every sane person finds a way to deal with being angry at their kids, I usually leave the room until the anger passes, some use the skills they’ve honed in their professional careers.

A soldier waterboarded his four-year-old daughter because she was unable to recite her alphabet.

Joshua Tabor admitted to police he had used the CIA torture technique because he was so angry.

As his daughter ‘squirmed’ to get away, Tabor said he submerged her face three or four times until the water was lapping around her forehead and jawline.

Tabor, 27, who had won custody of his daughter only four weeks earlier, admitted choosing the punishment because the girl was terrified of water.

Children and the old and the frail are so very vulnerable. Empathy and protecting the weak is the one thing that makes us human. Some of us.
This is our open thread. Feel free to let us know about your thoughts on this and anything else.

You won’t see this on the MSM

The surge didn’t work. Instead, we built a city of walls, both physically and psychologically.

Thanks to the Diary at DailyKos posted by ‘panicbean’ for sharing these videos. It is recommended by the blogger that we post these videos everywhere because you won’t see these on the MSM.

Baghdad – 5 Years post invasion Part 1

It only gets worse in Part 2

This is what George W Bush and his NeoCon friends gave to the Iraqi people.

What about the children? What George W Bush did IS NOT family values.

Baghdad – 5 Years post invasion Part 3

This is Iraq’s future and our future. How do you make friends with someone that blames you for the death of their parents? They don’t hate us for our freedoms, they hate us because we have destroyed their lives.

A John McCain presidency will only continue with this disgrace. The old man is planning on winning. Winning what? I don’t know. It certainly won’t be the hearts and minds of Iraqis.