A Quiet Dinner with a Side of Despair

 

“Mother!! I told you. Not now!” 

He was a toothache of a man. His greasy unkempt hair, which looked like a shovelful of wet pine straw dumped unceremoniously on his head, framed a face whose signature expression was a resentful scowl. Grey eyes pierced from under his furrowed and bushy eyebrows, his weatherworn face had more lines than a map of L.A., though one would search in vain for “laugh lines.”

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ACF#26: Blade

 

Let’s talk about black heroes at the movies. Wesley Snipes was one of the last action heroes–remember when American heroes could be working class and villains tech millionaires?–and he reached his peak with Blade, the best Marxist story of a generation, as Pete says. Here’s how Marxist “wake up and smell the exploitation” stories work: Remember The Matrix? Well, we have lots to say in praise of Blade and we continuously connect it to the shocks in American politics now, especially the Bernie-Hillary class conflict.

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Behold the Gold

 

I was in such a bad mood today.

We attended a very lovely Valentine evening yesterday, in the city. A bit of glamour! A chance to dress up! I’ve lived here in the mountains (again) for so long now that I marveled especially at the gents, with their low, polished, slip-on shoes, the delicate sheen of the fabric of their suits. (We favor thick-soled boots and canvas up here in these parts.)

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The Violence Stem

 

After the horror in Parkland, FL, there are the usual calls from the usual suspects to ban “assault rifles” and shut down the NRA; as if the NRA itself trained the murderer in how to kill innocents. Blaming the NRA for this mass murder is roughly equivalent to blaming the number of traffic deaths in the United States on the American Automobile Association: Both of them are membership organization built around the enjoyable and safe use of a particular piece of technology. No more, no less.

The problem happens when that particular piece of technology is used for evil and violent purposes, and this is true of gun and automobile alike. The technology is not the issue, the way it’s used to harm other people is the issue. To borrow from Bill Clinton: it’s the violence, stupid.

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FBI Ignored Specific Warning That Parkland Killer Could Attack School

 

The FBI admitted today that it didn’t investigate a specific tip that Nikolas Cruz might conduct a school shooting.

On January 5, a person close to the 19-year-old shooter provided information about “Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social-media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.” The FBI ignored the warning.

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The Shooters: They Think They’re the Victims

 

As usual, the cries for getting to the root of these terrible mass shootings are dominating the media landscape. It’s guns! It’s mental illness! It’s the lone wolf syndrome! I’m not against trying to understand the perpetrators of these horrifying events. In fact, this post is an effort to look at one other possible source of the problem—although if there’s any truth to my proposition, dealing with it may be more complex than we can imagine.

The problem? The mentality of the shooter: his victimization and our indulgence of it.

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Summer on the Farm

 

This “summer” story starts in the winter. In order for one to truly appreciate summer, a wintry time must come first.

Each January afternoon the school bus dropped us off at home, and with great determination, my sister and I would resolve to get right out to the milking barn. The sooner we got to it, the sooner we could be finished. But it was so hard to leave the house…. Our mom always had something baking, like cookies or cinnamon rolls. We’d bring in our chilly chore clothes from the porch off the kitchen, and warm them up by the coal stove.

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These Wonderful Scourges of Modern Life

 

I like contrails. Taking walks on clear summer days, when the heavens are deep blue, I love to tip my head back and watch aircraft passing overhead, leaving their long, white traces against the blue expanse. Someone, a pilot, explained to me that it was exhaust, up there so high that it freezes. The exhaust looks like clean, billowing cotton collecting behind the plane. I wonder how many miles of trail I’m seeing, wondering whether my distance from the plane is deceiving my eyes, that a space I could frame with my fingers is actually far longer than it looks from the ground.

I love planes. I like how sometimes you hear their hum before you see them. Their sound is not logical. Then you crane your neck and finally, you spot the tiny machine far off in the sky. It may be toward evening, the sun glinting off the metal. I think about how that craft is full of orderly rows of people, way up there, seats bolted to the floor, who are at this instant talking, reading, watching movies. The plane’s metal belly separates their feet from great heights beneath them and the wooded landscape below where a pair of eyes might be watching their progress.

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Winning the Argument, Losing Our Way

 

Here we are again. Having the same argument we’ve had too many times before. And we most likely will have it again, won’t we? In today’s society, we are more mentally segregated than ever and increasingly stuck in echo chambers. The preachers on the left and the right preach the same old lines and everyone yells “amen” at the appropriate places in the sermon. It has become more important to convince ourselves that we are correct in our thinking than to provide solutions to our problems (or, in lieu of that, accepting that there are certain things we simply cannot change.)

The gun control/rights debate that will unfold over the next days and weeks will highlight the cognitive dissonance across the political spectrum.

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Why Processed Foods?

 

A major study has been published linking processed foods of all kinds to cancer. This being the case, why would anyone ever eat processed foods?

It has been a long time, almost 100 years, since people had to worry all the time about the food they ate being spoiled or contaminated. In those times this problem was just a given. Babies dying from being fed raw cow’s milk, people dying of food poisoning, spoiled meat, or any number of other things, was just a feature of life. At one point, it is estimated, 30 percent of the people in London were suffering from one form of gastrointestinal disease or another and almost all of this from bad food. People died from this all the time.

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DACA Going Caca

 

There won’t be an immigration agreement. The President’s signature issue is going to be handled to his satisfaction or it will be vetoed.

The bipartisan bill in the Senate, which is mostly Democrat but with a few squish boys like Flake, makes minimal and irrelevant changes to chain migration and visas but grants amnesty to DACA folks. The bill states it will fund a wall over a decade which is, of course, a complete lie.

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More Shootings, More Divorces, More Single Parent Homes

 

What if we are looking at this incorrectly? What if the number of shootings per year in the last 70 years is X and that corresponds to an average population of 250 million people. Now, we have 350 million people and so we should expect that X to be correspondingly larger in raw numbers — everything else being the same.

Now, here’s my question: what if the actual phenomenon correlates better with, rather than the total population, the population of single-parent homes or homes with children of divorced parents?

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What Does “Do Something” Look Like?

 

Over at National Review, David French has a piece about what we’ve known about almost every other mass shooter in the last several years: everyone around them knew something was coming. They weren’t exactly certain they would be mass murderers, but there were no neighbors to interview on their front lawns who would say “he was such a sweet boy, always so kind and gentle, we never knew he could be capable of such a thing.” He writes,

We’ve trained ourselves to mind our own business, to delegate interventions to professionals, and to “judge not” the actions of others. But in a real way, we are our brother’s keeper; and an ethic of “see something, say something” is a vital part of community life.

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No Names

 

An orgy of mutual disgust now greets every mass shooting in America. Liberals despise conservatives who, they predict, will offer only insipid “thoughts and prayers” in the face of what they conceive to be preventable massacres. Conservatives scorn liberals who, they believe, will propose “feel good” gun measures that would have no effect on any mass shooting.

But there is something that we can try to prevent these horrific killings. It doesn’t require legislation. It won’t cost a penny. It doesn’t require compromising anyone’s gun rights, and it’s more concrete than “see something, say something.”

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Disturbed Student Does Not Open Fire at Washington High School, No Deaths Reported [Updated]

 

In sharp contrast to terrible news from Florida, KING 5 in Seattle reported on Valentine’s Day that a grandmother stopped her grandson from acting on a plan to commit mass murder at his school. The grandson lived with his grandparents and had problems leading to his enrollment in a diversion program high school. His alert and engaged grandparents became concerned. The grandmother went into his room, read his journal, discovered his plan, and called in the police. The boy is in custody.

From King5.com

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When Snowflakes Graduate, They Work at the Times

 

On Tuesday, Guy Benson — a Townhall editor, Fox News contributor, and co-author of the book End of Discussion — spoke at Brown University about conservatism. End of Discussion, a book he wrote with friend Mary Katharine Ham, is about how it is becoming more prevalent in our culture for discussion on any and all topics to be forcefully shut down by those who cannot and will not abide by the opinions of others. Students at Brown University, in response to this well-respected conservative thinker and defender of the First Amendment, well, attempted to end the discussion. Benson posted this on his personal Instagram today:

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Obama’s Fundamental Transformation Is Falling Apart

 

A Democrat loves a bureaucrat; the one thinks he can change everything and should; the other one believes that it can be done and moves whatever is in the way to do so. Knowing this, Obama knew that he had a bureaucracy poised and ready to push left. It was just a matter of planting a few key seeds, removing a few sorry weeds, and watering generously with authority, money, and praise. The rest would take care of itself. You see the domestic agenda is largely the welfare agenda with a little environmental and consumer advocacy thrown in. So it was heavily allied with the left long before Obama was seated in office. Any pretense of an apolitical nature had always been just that.

These bureaucrats had to be frustrated with the W years; compassionate conservatism was a dud. In fact, it was worse than a dud, sharing as it did what was perfectly good secular civic authority with, of all things, religiously affiliated groups. There is nothing a bureaucrat despises more than charity (and most charity is Christian). Charity interferes with, no it diminishes, the mission. It satisfies constituents and it does so with a sense of subtle obligation. For the bureaucrat, all missions are forever and every constituent is like a heroin addict converted to government methadone. Those charities, those Christians, were stealing constituents, man; the whole raison d’etre.

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