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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A Nation Lacking the Political Will to Defend Itself

Please, don't ask me to pray because I can't imagine anything more obscene than trying to pray our way out of this gun violence nightmare.

There are always two responses after a school shooting. Some people will ask, “How many times are we going to let this happen before we finally do something?” The answer to that is at least one more time because we haven’t done a fucking thing yet, even after countless bloodbaths.What if someone murdered a hundred children? Would that be enough for the nation to act? What about a thousand?

 Then we have conservative assholes warning the nation that the tragedy shouldn’t be politicized. FuckFace Carlson called it “desecrating the memory of the murdered children” while the blonde former Nazi women’s concentration camp guard on Fox screeches that “tragedy is not the time to shame our nation.”

The conservative answer is to turn schools into prisons while allowing any diseased asshole to buy an assault weapon without waiting any longer than the time it takes to hand over the cash. This strategy has been working out really well unless you include the countless mass shootings we’ve had over the years.

 It sickens me to see police running around in full military regalia and shouldering assault weapons AFTER a mass shooting, as if more firearms at this point are of any use at all. Has there ever been an incident after a mass shooting in which more firepower was necessary? Never. So why are cops running around like they are in the middle of a war zone screaming at children and grieving parents?

I would argue that this display of force worsens the situation by showing people that firepower solves problems. And so we get to the root of our issue in America: people see guns as a way to solve problems; guns are a solution.

Apart from hunters and target shooters, people buy guns to solve a perceived problem. The problem is mostly that they have very small, very flaccid penises and they hope that a gun will solve this problem. Or they think owning a gun will make them safer which is mostly untrue. Or they want to kill people. Guns certainly can solve the problem of killing people, something proven over and over again:

 “In 2020 alone, more than 45,000 Americans died at the end of a barrel of a gun, whether by homicide or suicide, more than any other year on record. The figure represents a 25% increase from five years prior, and a 43% increase from 2010.

Guns are really good at killing people. If the problem you have is ending a life, a gun is definitely the answer, but your dick is still going to be small and limp, just like before.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Imagine a City Without Cars

Before with Traffic

Plaza del Ayuntamiento Today

One more piece in the puzzle to make Valencia's historic center a pedestrian zone was the grand Plaza del Ayuntamiento, the city square. This photo doesn't really do the square justice because you see so few people walking around. On any given day, the square is teeming with people. This project had some very bitter opposition, although no one is complaining now, especially not any of the businesses in the square which have all been overrun with clients. Take away cars and people rush in filling the vacuum.


This video shows a portion of the pedestrian project for the Mercado Central and La Lonja de la Seda area. On the other side, the Plaza de Brujas has also undergone a major facelift. Before, this area was nothing but cars racing past.

Friday, May 20, 2022

It Takes Two to Play

 Playing catch with a youngster is a time-honored pleasure, except when it isn’t. What if you throw the ball to the kid and they walk off somewhere and just chew on it and never give it back? How many times would this have to happen before you took them to the orphanage and gave them up to a good home…or maybe a not-so-good home?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

As if the Content of this Garbage isn't Dangerous Enough for Humanity

I can’t even remember the last time I had fast-food, perhaps a few decades ago. I’ve forgotten how much packaging is involved with every order. I’m sure that lots of other take-out food is also wrapped up on landfill-filling amounts of paper and plastic. Without even addressing the question of littering, it's an ecological crime scene with all evidence pointing to the King.


 

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

What If Everything You Believe is Wrong?

 The difference between liberals and conservatives, at least those conservatives hatched in the past quarter century in the United States, is that a true liberal will change their opinion if the facts point in another direction to what they hold as the truth. If a consensus of scientists came out today and said conclusively that global climate change isn’t being driven by human factors, I’d go out tomorrow and buy a Hummer, or I’d at least take a longer shower than normal. 

 If the Centers for Disease Control came out with a report stating definitively that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” and that guns aren’t a problem, I’d shut the hell up about America’s fetish for firearms.* I happen to live in a nation with very strict gun control laws and shootings are almost unheard. Is this just some bizarre coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidences so I’ll stick to my guns and say that firearms should be highly, highly controlled.

 If taxcuts for the richest Americans led to job growth and income equality, I’d stop screaming about our highly regressive tax system.

 It’s more than mere politics we’re talking about, it’s a matter of how people see themselves, and about how they define themselves. This concept of identity is summed up nicely in this article from The Atlantic:

 “I’m a Republican, my parents are Republicans, all of my friends are Republicans,” Sarah Longwell’s focus-group (Republican Voters Against Trump) members told her. To vote differently wouldn’t just be an intellectual decision for these voters. It would tear them away from their tribe.

 Now that the Republican Party has gone so far off the rails, so far into the deep end of crazy, people who have identified as Republicans their entire adult lives are either getting onboard the crazy train or pretending all of the insanity isn’t happening. Of course, most will continue to vote Republican no matter how weird shit gets because to vote for anyone else will be admitting that they were wrong. Everyone hates it when they’re wrong about anything, but rational people can change their views in the light of overwhelming truth.

 American conservatives simply brand anything that counters their views as lies, fake news, or propaganda manufactured by socialists of whoever. The fake news makers, liars, and propagandists make up a vast swath of our scientists, politicians, economists, and other professionals. It must be very lonely being a Republican these days.

 America’s problem is that suburbanites who identify with the Republican Party are mostly stupid hicks, no matter how close their proximity to a big city. When asked where they live, most suburbanites will claim residency in their big-city neighbor. “I’m from Seattle,” they’ll say. No, you’re from Kent, big difference.

 Most suburbanites never learn the importance of coexisting with other people. This was really brought home to me when I was visiting a major southwest city that really isn’t a city at all, just a conglomeration of suburbs sewn together by freeways. They basically live in their cars and never even see other people except in retail outlets. There is something civilizing about walking city streets and taking public transportation.

 I walk out of the front door of my building and I’m in the middle of the city. I can’t roll up my windows, turn up the radio, and block out the people around me. I can’t honk my horn at them if they are in my path. I have to look them in the eye. How many drivers would act as churlishly as they do if they had to look their perceived antagonists in the eye without the Iron Man suit they wear disguised as an automobile?

 A lot of the crazy ideas that have gripped the minds of conservatives have taken root because of talk radio. Who listens to talk radio? Mostly suburbanites trapped in their cars all day driving everywhere. I’d wager that city dwellers aren’t the market for conservative talk radio as they don’t live in their cars. Urbanites also understand the need for cooperation and compromise.

 Lots of people who have never lived in a big city claim that city life is impersonal, cold, and unfriendly. I’ve found that just the opposite is true. I run into dozens of people on an almost daily basis. Of course, I’m not “friends” with most of these people, but there is a recognition, a familiarity that is comforting. These relationships also require a high level of civility as once you recognize someone, you will see them again and again. People will give someone the finger while driving with the confidence they’ll never see them face-to-face.

 American urbanites are predominantly liberal Democrats and tend to vote in their own self-interests. Rural and suburbanite Republican voters seem to be fueled by anger, not their own interests. They hate immigrants even though they may live in some area with few or no foreigners. They scream about things like Black Lives Matter and Antifa when they’ve never seen a representative from either group anywhere near where they live.

 Our 45th President, Fuckface Von Clownstick, did nothing at all for working class Americans. His only real legislative victory was lowering taxes for the richest Americans. I can’t imagine anyone the Republican elites give less of a shit about than working class people, and if they do care, they have a strange way of showing it.

 It's just sad that anyone thinks that the Republican elite care abort abortion. All Roe vs. Wade did was to make abortion legal and safe for poor people. Rich people always had and will continue to have access to abortion, no matter what the Supreme Court decided.

 What have conservatives been wrong about? Where to begin? Viet Nam, the Gulf War, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, tax cuts for the rich, global climate change, public transportation (they mostly reject it), fuel efficient cars (Fuckface Von Clownstick actually wanted less regulation on fuel-efficiency even though automobile manufacturers were OK with these rules), and now they reject Biden's election result without any valid proof.

  *Of course, the CDC hasn’t said that guns are OK. In 2020, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S, more than any year on record (suicides 54%, murders 43%). Nearly eight-in-ten (79%) U.S. murders in 2020 – 19,384 out of 24,576 – involved a firearm.