Guns in America Part III (Fuck You, Marco Rubio)

“If someone has decided, ‘I’m going to commit this crime,’ they will find a way to get the gun to do it.”

– US Senator “Little” Marco Rubio

 

Gun deaths in the US, annually: over 30,000 (Link)
Gun deaths in Japan, annually: like 10 (Link)

Wow! Only 10 or so people in Japan decided they wanted to shoot someone with a gun.

Clearly 3,000 times as many violent people live in America. Well, adjust for accidents and multiple-victim shootings: say a generous 1,500 times as many violent folks. How about we even go per capita and just call it 500? That’s rounding in the US’s favor each time we calculate and with the original figures.

Americans are at the very least 500 times more likely to decide, “I’m going to commit this crime.” That’s what Marco says.

So, then America has just WAY MORE KILLERS than all these other countries.
So why don’t we let the country with the most killers have the MOST GUNS!

Or maybe for some reason, some of the Japanese people who would otherwise have liked to kill someone with a gun… didn’t… find a way to get one?

BUT HOW CAN THAT BE?!

Or maybe Marco means if an American decides, “I’m going to commit this crime,” they’ll find a way to get the gun to do it.

That’s because…

That’s right, folks:

“Gun control won’t work here, because we don’t have gun control now, and people still get shot.”

– US Senator Marco Rubio, paraphrased

 

I wonder what he drives.

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Evolved Taste

This is about as nutty a post as I will ever write, but waaaaait for it…

I am a scientist.

PART I: Pew Research

Pew Research is an American organization that self-describes as, “a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.” They, “conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research,” and, “do not take policy positions.”

To try to put it simply, Pew aims to measure and document various aspects of global society.

So when they published a study in 2009 that detailed the proportional representation of Americans who do not believe in evolution and those who do believe in evolution (with the subcategories of evolution as a result of a natural process and evolution guided by a god), Pew was not trying to make a statement about the legitimacy of either category or either subcategory of those who believe in evolution.

 

 

I am.

PART II: Teach the Controversy

“Teach the Controversy” is a movement that exerts political influence to try to force American schools to brainwash children with the idea that evolution is a theory, which the movement’s patrons intentionally conflate with speculation, and that equal or greater weight should be given to the idea that a big salacious dick lurks over his toy planet and moves his little action figures (us) around as he sees fit, predicated of course on how well we behave.

They want to throw the cumulative data of all human observation — from the discovery of fire to the age of landing rockets on barges after launching them into space more than once — into the ring with ghost stories written more than 500 years before humanity really started getting close to possessing the technology to make glass windows a reality, and then let people who think Africa is a country in South America figure out which of the “controversial” “theories” is true.

One is a theory and is true; the other is folklore and is false.

PART III: The Science of Evolution (in the form of common sense)

The science of evolution does not require leaps of faith (“I see God all around me.”), and it does not require circular reasoning (“Then explain why in Genesis it says…) or feelings-as-proof reasoning (“If you find a wristwatch on a sandy beach…”) in order to be believed. It requires a simple conversation about sex and shit.

As is typically the case in this blog, when I say “shit”, I mean feces.

Below are two examples of natural selection.

Sexiness

Or more specifically, sexual reproduction…

Perfectly normal. We’re all products of it. Settle down.

Reproduction allows for the passing of genetic material to subsequent generations. The catch, though, is that a genetic code is not passed exactly as it exists one parent. Obviously, that is because it is combined in sexual reproduction to create offspring that posses some genes from each parent.

With the understanding that every child has genetic material from each parent, it must be accepted that no child is an exact copy of either parent.

That doesn’t mean anything on its own, though. This combination of genetic material could be imagined to just recycle a finite gallery of traits. The real kicker is selective breeding, a key element of natural selection and driving force of evolution.

Natural selection, in 2018 human terms, could be crudely explained by saying, “The most attractive (not necessarily physically) people get to reproduce the most.”

In prehistoric and ancient times — and even modern times in the cases of perhaps all other animals — attractiveness could be likened to physical superiority. That’s the meaning of the term “survival of the fittest”.

If there is a group of prehistoric primates walking around, and one of the males is a foot shorter, slower, and weaker than all the others, the female primates are more likely to chose the other males for sex, which would make it harder for his genetic material to survive.

Undesirable traits (not to as significant an extent in civilized human society in 2018) negatively affect the chance of reproducing.

But it’s not just lack of game that removes your genes from the pool; lack of fitness for environment stops your line too.

Long story short: reproducing beings can and do reproduce in a way that eliminates features, and though it happens unfathomably gradually, the incomprehensible longevity of humanity and botany among other realms allows microscopic changes to be stretched and stretched into small changes.

Shit

We don’t eat shit because it smells bad, right?

Right. And eating shit makes you sick, so thank god it doesn’t smell like churros!

Or what if we find the smell unpleasant because eating shit makes you sick?

Suppose there was a male primate who found the rank heat of another specimen’s dead lunch to be the choicest spice, and couldn’t keep his hands off. Do you think he dodges E. coli long enough to have children?

If there was a trait available in the human genome that allowed for the birth of folks who crumbled at the aroma of a Filet of Squish, do you think it would ever survive a generation?

Now, if 10,000 years ago half of all homo sapiens were genetically pre-disposed to swoon at the scent of stool, do you think that particular characteristic would have made it to the 21st century? Even with all the pestilences we’ve faced and the level of disease in our discharge? No way.

Nobody is making it to adolescence with a diet that includes scat, let alone finding a mate. But how, Steve, does this prove evolution?

Obviously it doesn’t. But it is an imaginary illustration of how a trait could be removed from a species. There may never have been a case of people who loved to eat poo, and I don’t even know if olfactory preferences are hereditary, but the simple principle — unaffected by the question in the prior clause of this sentence — is that if there are traits that cause the specimen carrying them to be more likely to die of illness or unfitness, the traits are less likely to be passed on. Replace love of log with fragile femurs and repeat the train of thought above.

It’s a cruel world, and disadvantageous characteristics or predispositions can make specimens unfit. And if you ain’t fit…

Humanity is, in some ways, beyond this due to our intelligence — the intelligence we posess because due to physical inferiority to predators, only the smartest survived.

To wrap up this odd section, if certain specimens are undesirable, they are less likely to pass on their genetic material, as are those whose genetic material leads to unsuitability for their environment. It doesn’t have to be eating poo; it could also be not having the hand strength to open the shell of your primary food source.

If you can’t survive or you can’t breed, your genes will have a hard time moving forward, and the future of the human race will look less like you. It will evolve away from you, if you’ll excuse the cloudy over-simplicity.

Conclusion:

According to Pew’s study, only 32% of the American public believed in evolution by natural process (like natural selection). Thankfully a further 22% aren’t completely blind, but they do see a divine hand in evolution. 31% of respondents believed that evolution doesn’t happen, or more specifically, “Humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”

Almost a third of Americans (as of 9 years ago) believed that if no woman on Earth ever mated with a man under seven feet tall again, the normal range of human height would continue unchanged.

So if you believe the statement, “Evolution is just a theory,” exposes a lack of verification, or if you believe we should, “teach the controversy…”

why don’t you go eat some shit?

 

Fuck You, Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan says, “We’re going to take on welfare reform, which is another big entitlement program*, where we’re basically paying people — able-bodied people — not to work**, and we’re depriving them with all these disincentives from going into the workforce.”

*Learn to speak.
** The assumption is that all people on welfare are ready to work, but because they are receiving money, they won’t. That frames the problem as the enterprise and spirit of these Americans rather than the difficulty of actually finding work or the fact that a single parent working full-time for minimum wage will not earn enough to reach the poverty line.

So Paul, let me get this straight. We have a group of people who are capable of working, but can’t be bothered? We are paying them? That takes away their incentive? WAIT; that applies to everyone on unemployment benefits?

So just humoring you in regard to your assertion that all these people can actually work, which surely some of them can…
Is the disincentive the financial support itself?
Or is the disincentive the fact that even if these people do go out and work, they will never make much money and won’t see an increase in standard of living?

You think the answer is cutting out the safety net and dangling people by their dark blue collars over the cliff that is the prospect of having zero money.

Paul Ryan might say, “Why maintain a system to assist people when you could just fundamentally alter their human nature?”

I think the answer might be to leave that safety net in place for those who truly need it, then instead of threatening desolation, dangle the carrot of more money, purchasing power, and financial liberty in front of those who could theoretically join or rejoin the workforce.

Leaving the minimum wage argument aside for now, I will conclude this rant with a translation from Ryanese to simple English of what Paul “Penis” Ryan was really telling the American public.

  1. “take on welfare reform” – work to end support for the unemployed
  2. “big entitlement program” – system we as a community installed to guarantee a standard of living for all citizens
  3. “able-bodied people” – candidates for work
  4. “depriving (people)” – turning work candidates into non-candidates
  5. “disincentives (to) work” – similar reward with no effort or downside

Republican legislators will work to cripple or destroy the support measures we Americans created as a country to guarantee a standard of living for all of our people, because it costs money. None of these people really need it anyway, and actually, they’d be better off without it.

-Paul Ryan (translated and paraphrased)

Fuck you, Champ.

 

On Net Neutrality

I don’t think I’m needed for this one, but…

FUCK Ajit V. Pai.

There will be a fight on the grounds that these proposed actions are an attack on three of the freedoms granted by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. If that process fails, it’s all over; get out of Dodge, because the fire will have jumped the river and reached town.

Just…

Why aren’t people this hot about health care?

Noise Logic

“Part of the problem with Obamacare is that it was pushed through by one party.”

– Senator Jeff Flake (R, Arizona), 2017

“Part of the problem with vegetables is that my parents didn’t even ask me if I wanted them.”

– Steve Corbett (I, California), 1993

Who Said It? Part XI

Who said it?

On civil rights in “not multi-racial”, but “biracial” America as a form of affirmative action in response to slavery and Jim Crow laws:
“Civil rights are for African Americans. They are not for people who arrived yesterday, or last week; we didn’t do anything to you.

“Republicans didn’t do anything to anybody.”

Who Said It? Part X

Who said it?

On the social welfare programs:
“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

Who Said It? Part IX

Who said it?

On the reactions of American people:
“So on one hand, you have Bill O’Reilly, who is celebrated for perpetuating the most antiquated racist stereotypes, and rewarded with an 18-million-dollar salary, and on the other hand, you have a young, black American athlete who is vilified for silently and civilly protesting against racial injustice…

You can call Kaepernick a shitty quarterback all you want — and I’m not going to argue that — but to celebrate his unemployment and not speak up against oppressive assholes like Bill O’Reilly makes you a racist.”

8,025,600 Minutes

I manage no longer the energy or spirit required for eloquence, so here I will beat around no bush and plant no literary seeds to be sown down the road.

I predict that in the not-too-distant future, buying a home will be something most Americans don’t even have on their radar. American investors will stockpile real estate for the sake of selling to corporations and foreign investors. Those corporations and foreign investors will, along with some of the American investors, stockpile it for the sake of stockpiling a bunch of American real estate. Regular people will almost exclusively rent.

I will at that time argue that rental contracts for all (or certain) houses or condominiums (home types typically designated for individual-unit ownership) be legally required to include a buyout plan. Basically, any renter of a house (not apartments, for example) would be on a rent-to-own contract. It would be illegal to offer a single-family home to someone as a pure rental.

Think about the pros and cons for yourself. One variation of this could be a limit of one rental property (of the single-family variety as per above) per person (including corporate people).

This is a long way away, and probably crazy now, but talk to me in 2032.

Who Said It? Part VIII

Who said it?

On the current “regime”/administration:
“…because now, instead of progress being driven, to some extent, from the top — encouragement for that progress — we’re instead going to have roadblocks set up by people like Jeff Sessions, and they’re going to be doing whatever they can to keep things exactly the same. And this is why letting someone like Donald Trump become President is such a goddamn disappointment — because we were seeing progress; we were seeing it every year, and we just set that back… bigly. “