My heart goes out… but…

Once again, the dry, brush-covered hills surrounding San Diego, the single coastal bastion of conservatism in California, have gone up in a firestorm that threatens thousands of homes.

My heart goes out to those in danger and especially those who have lost their homes.

That said, San Diego county Republicans gutted their area’s ability to fight fires with their idiotic tax cuts and dogmatic laissez faire policies.

Until they start taking care of their OWN protection and paying for their own fire-fighting and preparing themselves for the brush fires that are all too PREDICTABLE, the state and federal governments should be wary of giving them ANY disaster funds unless absolutely necessary for safety and stability.

It appears about the only way you can make these opportunistic, greed-promoting politicians take some of the responsibility they are so often urging others to step up to.

Neo-prohibitionists lapping up media mis-reporting of latest pot study, according to MedPageToday

I’ve often railed against the utterly terrible science and medical reporting in the general media — and today’s ABSURD media coverage of a recently published, far-far-far-from conclusive study about marijuana and brain function is a perfect example.

I was waiting for the responsible, physician-facing MedPageToday to cover this ’emerging’ story — and I’m glad I did.

When’s the last time I suggested you share a story I’d posted? Pretty much never, right? You might want to re-post THIS story, because the mainstream media have really bollixed it.

MedPageToday deputy managing editor, John Gever writes:

Correlation does not equal causation, and a single exam cannot show a trend over time. Basic stuff, right?

But judging by coverage of a study just out in the Journal of Neuroscience, these are apparently foreign concepts for many folks in the media.

Blame doesn’t belong to the mainstream media alone, according to Gever:

Sad to say, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), which publishes the Journal of Neuroscience, may have driven these dramatic overinterpretations by promoting the study in a press release headlined “Brain changes are associated with casual marijuana use in young adults.”

Also note that the study did not identify any cognitive or behavioral abnormalities in the cannabis users versus controls — it was strictly an MRI study.

[emphasis added]

Striking a Nerve: Bungling the Cannabis Story

NRA demands armed guards in all schools, says school shootings are everyone’s fault but theirs


The NRA says we must put armed guards in all nursery schools, elementaries, middle schools, and high school campuses.

They fail to point out that there were two armed guards at Columbine.

Two is not enough. And clearly they were outgunned. They should have had rocket launchers and perhaps an armored personnel carrier.

Maybe we need to bivouac the army in our schools in order to protect our children from ourselves — since we, as a nation, appear incapable of reining in the gun psychos and paranoiacs (like Adam Lansa’s end-o-times-obsessed mother who stockpiled all those weapons despite the presence of her deeply troubled son).

This is all so silly. And backwards.

The NRA is behind the times — and clearly addressing the trade needs of the gun makers who pump money into NRA coffers as though they believed all that eye-of-the-needle stuff from Matthew 19:24.

No. We don’t need guards with simple firearms.

We need a circling air force of heavily armed drones hovering over every school in the U.S.

Target sighted.

Teenager neutralized.

Romney as Manager-in-Chief — it ain’t pretty…

You gotta love it when the conservative economic media powerhouses weigh in with surprising observations.

This article was written by Frederick E. Allen, Forbes Magazine Leadership Editor…

Here’s more from around the web, with special attention to the Orca Project, Team Romney’s supposedly groundbreaking  but actually spectacularly mismanaged ‘strike list’ web app for GOP get-out-the-vote (GOTV) workers…

Wrapping back around to the whole ‘competence’ issue — this campaign is something of a crystallization of Mitt Romney’s life…

His famous father, George Romney, actually built things, accomplished things. When he was CEO of the American Motors, he took that newly merged, debt-burdened company to profitable, debt-free operation. When he was Republican governor of labor-heavy Michigan, he was a popular governor. When he ran for the GOP presidential nomination in ’68, by his blunt candor in assessing the Vietnam War as a loss (even then) and the managing generals as ‘brainwashing’ American politicians, he effectively ended his future chances in the GOP — but he got the truth out in front of the American people at a crucial time.

In his business career, Mitt specialized in “creative destruction” — buying troubled companies, plundering them for their assets for quick returns in some cases or, in others, using the companies as dumping grounds for debt sales from other Romney-controlled enterprises that effectively eviscerated Peter to fatten Paul — making losers of victimized existing investors in the troubled companies while rewarding investors in Romney’s other ventures.

Clearly, Mitt never really learned how to build lasting, healthy companies and his overall record shows that quite clearly. But he was hell at profiting from others’ misfortunes — he became one of the US’s richest businessmen doing it.

Sadly, for his apparent dreams of ‘besting’ his father (hadn’t we already been through that Freudian scenario with the reckless incompetence of George W Bush?), Mitt never apparently gained the management skills of his father — and that has become painfully evident in the aftermath of his unsuccessful campaign against an embattled incumbent with an Oval Office desk full of troubles…

Mitt Romney couldn’t manage his own campaign — and manifestly did a disastrous job of it — how on earth could he have managed the executive branch of the most powerful nation on earth?

“My party is full of racists.”

In the aftermath of Mitt Romney campaign spokeman John Sununu’s unfortunate moment of frankness — where he suggested that former George Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell had endorsed Barack Obama because they are both black — a suggestion Sununu was quickly prodded to backpedal away from by key members of the GOP — General Powell’s chief of staff at the State Department, former military man, Ret. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson — who is white and Republican — had a mouthful to say in a brief interview on MSNBC. The Wilkerson interview begins about 2 min. 40 seconds into the clip, after typical partisan bloviation from the MSNBC host.  Do yourself a favor and cut to the chase.

Jason Alexander gets mad…

Salon is reprinting a long, angry tweet from comic Jason Alexander (best known as George on the old Seinfeld Show).

It probably won’t change many minds already in the thrall of gun manufacturers and their political lobbyists, but I should hope that politicians will realize that Alexander is far from alone in being fed up with the perverted interpretation of our constitution that twists itself in knots to suggest that private citizens should be able to keep weapons of war designed only for one thing: killing as many humans as possible as quickly as possible.

From Salon

Jason Alexander’s amazing gun rant

With more guns than people and a health care system that puts crazies on the street, who needs terrorists?

Dark thoughts contemplating the cinema killings that happened early this morning in Aurora, Colorado.

A recent medical school dropout, a 24 year old white man named James Holmes, surrendered to police without further violence after killing 12 theater-goers and wounding as many as 50 in a bullets and gas-grenade attack on a crowded midnight showing of a new Batman movie.

Little is currently public about the shooter, but seasoned observers (make that an armchair ‘expert,’ me) strongly suspect that Holmes is himself the victim of the onset of schizophrenia, which likely first caused him to drop out of medical school and now, in response to what he may very likely describe as irresistible impulses or voices in his head, has acted out his illness, helped along by the nearly endless supply of firearms and ammunition to anyone with a few bucks to rub together.

If one state’s laws prevent such a person from legally acquiring guns in that state, there’s usually a nearby state with much more lax gun laws all too willing to help out. And then there are gun shows, where sales are often largely unregulated and often occur completely extra-legally.

We’ve tightened up our national security to the extent that it appears to be increasingly hard for foreign terrorists to strike within the US.

But we are still vulnerable to what has often been our own worse enemy as a nation: ourselves.


Think we don’t live in a violent society?

Among the Aurora shooting victims was aspiring newscaster, Jessica Ghawi (who used the professional name Jessica Redfield).

Only last month, Ghawi left a Toronto shopping mall only 3 minutes before a gunman opened fire there, killing two and wounding six.

Ghawi wrote about it in her blog:

“My receipt shows my purchase was made at 6:20 pm,” she wrote. “After that purchase I said I felt funny. It wasn’t the kind of funny you feel after spending money you know you shouldn’t have spent. It was almost a panicky feeling that left my chest feeling like something was missing. A feeling that was overwhelming enough to lead me to head outside in the rain to get fresh air instead of continuing back into the food court to go shopping at Sport Chek. The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would’ve been in the midst of gunfire.”