Don’t need no book-learning….

It looks as if the assault weapons ban is going nowhere in the Senate; not even in an up-or-down vote. Reason: many of the Democratic Senators come from red states (West Virginia, Arkansas, North Dakota, Alaska, Montana).

I wish more people would remember this: there is a LOT of variation within the Democratic party and a bill that makes it with unanimous Democratic support isn’t going to be an especially liberal one.

As far as the issue: I understand banning weapons based on potential (e. g., we ban private possession of nuclear weapons, though they haven’t killed anyone since 1945). But in the United States, most of the actual harm is caused by handguns, even though the semi-automatic weapons are out there. I am conflicted by data, “what would be the most effective policy versus what is merely “feel-good”, etc.”.

Note: I don’t like guns and do not own any and have no intention of ever owning any, though as a bit of trivia: at one time in my life I was qualified to wear the “Marksman” ribbon based on pistol shooting (barely; it was the lowest category of ribbons for shooting: “Marksman”, “Sharpshooter”, “Expert”).

So while I have an “oh, yuck” feeling about guns, I really don’t know what the best feasible policies would be.

I love the “can you see the animal in this photo” games. Jerry Coyne has 8 photographs of well-camouflaged animals; many (including some BIG ones) are hard to spot at a glance! You will find them; these aren’t some “10 pixel sized” needles in a hay stack photos. Most really aren’t (intentionally) hiding.

This is natural selection in action: easy to spot animals often become someone else’s dinner…or have trouble finding dinner.

Religion Jerry Coyne also comments on a couple of Non Sequitur cartoons. The idea: a fisherman does out without checking the tide charts and his boat gets stuck in mud, so he gets out walks to shore, and appears to be “walking on water”. He therefore,…well…you know the drill:



The second one is even funnier: he doesn’t need no egg-head scientist telling him about, well, science! 🙂

Hey, scientists are not the only ones troubled by such nonsense. Paul Krugman went on Morning Joe; evidently Mr. Scarborough didn’t understand what he was saying (a real shock, I know).

1. Keynesian economics is NOT at all controversial, even if some economists don’t go along with it. If that “doesn’t make sense”, remember that there are many competing schools in established sciences such as biology (weight given to different mechanisms for evolution, for example) or physics (say, interpretations of quantum mechanics). Keynesian economics is an established school of economics; it is only considered fringe to the “Very Serious People”.

2. Paul Krugman has not said that the debt (and deficits) “doesn’t matter” or “should be ignored”; he says that it is a problem. He does say that, in these current conditions, unemployment is a far greater problem. You deal with the more serious problems first; cutting spending during a recession can stop economic growth.

Why is this so difficult of a concept to grasp? You do DIFFERENT THINGS in DIFFERENT SITUATIONS….you know; in football if it is 3’rd and less than a yard, you are more likely to run; if it is 3’rd and 10 you are more likely to pass (of course, that depends on the situation; late in the game versus early, lead versus being behind, etc.).

3. And no, the Swedish Nobel Prize isn’t awarded at the whim of Norwegian Royalty…

But hey, Mr. Scarborough really does represent the well intended but “sort-of” clueless out there.

Here is a sample of how well he understands things:

It is just that-there COMMON SENSE!!!!! 🙂

How many times do these people have to get things spectacularly wrong before they realize that their own simple minded assessments really carry no merit whatsoever?


January 29, 2013 - Posted by | 2012 election, economy, evolution, nature, politics, politics/social, religion, science | , ,

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