A Possible Solution to School Shootings

I hate to side with big surveillance, but if I was in law enforcement and wanting to prevent the next school shooting (I’m assuming somebody in law enforcement would like to prevent the next school shooting, right?), here’s what I’d do: make a list of all white males who are currently in High School or have graduated in the last couple of years. That should be easy to do, schools keep lists.

Look them up on social media.

Flag any of those who are obsessed with guns, have few close friends, are members of hate groups, or post statements on line about how they’d like to kill everybody.

It might require a bit of manpower, but most of  the work is done on the computer so you don’t exactly need a Sherlock Holmes.  You can take some traffic cops who are mostly just harassing motorists, and pull some people off the marijuana detail, since it’s almost legal anyway.

Then, you send Social Services round to their house for an interview. Maybe, if the kid doesn’t do well in the interview, try and convince their parents to get rid of their guns.  Something like “Mrs. Jones, your boy is a weirdo.  We think there’s a good chance he’s going to take one of your  guns and go kill a bunch of people.  Maybe it would be for the best if you just turned them over.  We’ll let you have them back in a couple  of  years, after he’s moved out or is no longer a threat.”  “No, I’ve got  my 2nd amendment rights.”  “Mrs. Jones, if your kid does kill somebody with one of your guns, we’ll charge you with accessory to murder.”  “O.K., they’re in the closet.”
If that doesn’t work, watch the little fucker like a hawk.

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The Invisible Hand

I’m still slogging through “Economics of Good and Evil” by Tomas Sedlaček.  Despite being over my head and kind of dull in parts, I am learning some things.  For instance, the author seems to think that Adam Smith is both over-rated and misunderstood, and the invisible hand idea actually came from Bernard Mandeville, who preceded Smith by a generation and of whom Smith was not actually a big fan.

They’ve both been  dead a very long time so I  don’t care about that, but I do have some opinions on this ‘invisible hand’ idea.  I get it, if everybody acts in their own self interest, it will all help the economy in the end.  If you are a thief, you are spurring the economy because your actions encourage people to buy alarm systems, insurance, guns, and a new TV set to replace the one you stole.  It’s sort of like trickle-down, only sideways.  And, as a description of economics, it works.
The bubonic plague killed off about 50% of Europe’s population, but it paved the way  for the Renaissance.  WWII killed 18 million people or thereabouts, but gave us jet aircraft,  computers, and space travel.  Still, nobody is advocating for disease, or war.
So, I’m not saying the invisible hand theory is incorrect.  I’m just saying I don’t  understand how anybody could think this is a good thing.  It’s an INVISIBLE HAND.  Sure, the rich person might say “it works for me” with a smug smirk, as if they’ve got a right to be richer than other people.  But, for the average working person,  the  invisible hand is always  just around the corner, waiting to whack you up the side of the head.
The world needs an economy which works, even in the short term, for all of the world’s people.  It could be done.  We’ve got the resources.  We’ve got the manpower.  And we’ve got the technology.

We need to make that invisible hand visible and put it to work.

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Speaking Other Languages

Aaron Schlossberg fucked up real bad.  After his nasty anti-hispanic rant in public, it’s been  revealed that he’s actually  not a member of the New York Bar Association, and he’s been kicked out of his building (where his office is, he  hasn’t been made homeless)  I expect he’ll recover.  There are plenty of racists out there just like him, some of them are wealthy and powerful, so he’ll be O.K.  I’d like to think  this will  ruin his  miserable life, but it probably won’t.

Whether it does or doesn’t, he is going to continue to hate.  Of course, the thing about hating people for speaking a foreign language comes down to fear.   If you can’t understand what they’re saying, why, they could be saying anything.  Well, I have trave3led and lived in many countries, and picked up a little bit of a few languages on  the way, but it’s not  easy.  I still  don’t understand Czech people when they are talking too fast.  But, here are some clues for  how to understand what people are saying even when you can’t understand the language:

  1.  If they are in a coffee shop  and talking to the person behind the counter, they are probably ordering a cup of coffee.
  2.  If they are laughing, somebody probably just told a joke.  You may feel  left out, but maybe it was a personal joke, like between  the two of them, and you  wouldn’t have got it, anyway.
  3.  If they are screaming, jumping out of their chair, and making frantic gestures with their hands, they have probably just spilled coffee on  themselves.  It happens.
  4. If you are on a train, and they are wearing a uniform, they are probably asking to see your ticket.  Just show it to them.  No words are necessary.
  5. If they are a waiter in a restaurant, they are probably asking you what you want to  eat.  Why would they be asking anything else?

It’s not really  that hard.  Even though we have thousands of languages around the world, people are mostly saying the same things.  People are people.

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The Wedding’s Over

The royal wedding is over and now we can get back to talking about other things, is one way I feel about it.  Didn’t watch it, but people have been talking about it on Facebook all  day, so  I’ve got a few opinions.

For as left wing as I am on  most issues, I don’t really hate the British Royal family.  Philip is a doddering old racist, which is not exactly atypical for a British family, Elizabeth may not have been mother of the year, but she’s always taken her job seriously.  Sure, they’ve got tons of money  which  is kind of obscene while some people are struggling, but so do Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg, and the Sultan  of Dubai, and the head honcho of  the house of Saud and all his relatives, and the Waltons, and the Kochs, and the Trumps, to name a few.  And what about the Pope?  There’s probably a few billion dollars worth of stuff in the Vatican alone.  They all should be doing more to end the world’s problems.

I think the Windsors could do themselves,  and England, a big favor by putting some  of their money to  good use, and maybe turning a few of their castles over to the public, either as public parks or some charitable use.  Then, they should just relax a bit.  Be more like the Dutch and Swedish monarchs, who act more or less like ordinary people but are still excessively  rich.  But,  I’m not holding  my  breath.

I really don’t think  that Meghan Markle being half-black is going to do much to affect race relations in Britain, any more than Barack Obama’s two terms in  office ended racism in the U.S.  Also, and I hope it isn’t racist of me to say  this, she looks white.  The whole race thing is going to  fade into the background.

Unless, of course, they have children who  are noticeably black.  I’d love to see the look on old Philip’s face when that happens.

 

 

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A Bad Look

I went out for a little walk and I was just sitting there on a rock, with trees and bushes all around and stood up and walked over to check  the street and there was a policeman standing on  the corner.  No big deal, smoking is more or less legal and he was looking the other way and no big deal so I  retreated to  my  seat and finished off the joint and solved all the problems of the world in my head, they should put a plaque on that rock.

So, I started walking home and now there’s two cops on the corner.  I walked past them, crossed the street and was headed home.  Then I looked back down the street and suddenly realized why the police were there.
There was a huge crowd, like I couldn’t see  the back of  it, shouting something incoherent, so I started walking toward them, along the side of the park, where plenty of folk were just taking it all in  stride.  I thought maybe they were Nazis.  Anyway, there was a serious paucity of information in their signs and on their T-shirts, which all said ‘trouble gang’ if they said anything at all, and some of them were carrying flags, black and white stripes like in a parody of the American flag, and a black field in the corner, with some sort of  insignia in it.  It wasn’t a swastika, but it still looked intimidating.  The chant was “Trouble-Gang, Trouble-Gang.  The flag that was different was one big orange one saying ‘Radio Fajn,’ so I  thought maybe some kind of promotion, but there were no serious cameras around, just a few people  with cell phones.  Also, plenty of police at the back, all in ninja black with paddy wagons at the ready.

When I got home, a friend of  ours was here and I  recounted the tale.  He googled  it real  quick and trouble gang is apparently the posse of some Slovakian rapper.
Then, when Sam  got home from work, I  asked him how it went and he said “Terrible, there was a concert from some Slovakian  rapper…”  I said ‘trouble gang’ and he said yeah.
So, I guess it’s an interesting way for the fans to arrive at a concert, but if their schtick is to look like Nazis, well, that’s not a good look.

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Star Trek: Into the Darkness

Sure, lots of you have already seen this film, like forever ago, so my review is not going to be timely or Earth shaking, because opinions have been long ago formed, battle lines drawn, but I just saw it now and so here are my observations.

  1.  I enjoyed it.  That doesn’t mean I  was knocked out or amazed by  it, but it was entertaining and exciting all the way through, in an action adventure sort of way.
  2. I didn’t care for what they did with the Scottie character, I mean his Burns-Smithers relationship with the twisty little blue man who looked a bit like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.  It would have been fine in an  original  movie, but it was so out of line with the character of Scottie we know that, even as comic relief it didn’t work well.  He did save the day, though.
  3. And the Klingons, how many iterations of Klingons have we had?  It was a cool look, though.
  4. The actor who played Spock did a fine job and it’s not his fault he reminded me a bit of  Dan Aykroyd and every time he opened his mouth I  heard a  Conehead joke.
  5. The thing that really  struck me though is that I’ve always like the TV shows better than the movies, and I  think I’ve figured out why.  When they’ve got the big screen and the big budget, it’s all  action  adventure, one big battle scene after another.  The shows always seemed to be more focused on the ethical dilemma.

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Name That Book

I was daydreaming and got the idea for a sci-fi novel in my head. Because all planets are separate, developing within their own atmosphere, each planet is going to evolve differently, and my idea was a planet which had  3 or  4 intelligent species which had all  evolved to the technological  level together, obvs there was just something in  the atmosphere that led intelligence to co-operation instead of intra-species warfare at a very early stage so  maybe they  developed technology quicker than humans, maybe slower, maybe in some ways quicker and in  some ways slower, but then they get out into space and start exploring the universe and are totally blindsided by the idea of other , warlike species.  I would make them the good guys, of course, and they eventually prevail, maybe by outwitting the others, or seeking alliances  with other star-faring, war-knowing creatures, but who weren’t actually trying to kill them, and then I  realized that parts of the idea were similar to a book I read, probably when I  was about 11 or 12.

I  think it might  have been  Heinlein, it was right up his  alley,  but if so it’s not one of his most famous.  Anyway, in it a bunch of kids were chosen by the aliens (who’d just made contact with Earth) to go to some camp on  another planet, kind of a scout outing/survival experiment/audition for the human race  to see if we could join the federation  of planets, and the main thing I remember is that there was more than  one intelligent  species on the planet.  Does anybody know what book I’m talking about?  I’d kind of like to find it and read it again.

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