Guns Don’t Kill People: Confederate Flags Kill People

When this battle flag of the 11th Mississippi Infantry was carried up Cemetery Ridge in Pickett's Charge, it must have felt about as friendless as the "Confederate flag" feels today. BTW, what everybody is arguing about today is not the flag of the Confederacy, but the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

When this battle flag of the 11th Mississippi Infantry was carried up Cemetery Ridge in Pickett’s Charge, it must have felt about as friendless as the “Confederate flag” feels today. BTW, what everybody is arguing about today is not the flag of the Confederacy, but the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

We have just seen another massive, and masterly, prestidigitation by the people who love guns and dislike poor people, and who understand that large majorities of Americans dislike gun violence and are poor. The continued existence of free and open elections in this country — albeit less free and less open every year — constrain these people from talking too openly about their vision for America, i.e. one nation, under God, armed to the teeth with people dying in the streets. So they obfuscate, and misdirect, and bloviate and lay down smoke.

And when confronted with a truly obscene massacre of innocent black people by a white  whack job with a racist manifesto and a gun, right wingnuts have to work overtime to come up with a diversion to keep the chattering class from talking about their manifesto. This time, after nine people at prayer were gunned down in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, they knew they were going to have to be really good to get this off TV and out of the minds of Americans before any damage was done to their Second Amendment Rights. Continue reading

Doomstead Diner Discussion: Whither China?

On Sunday afternoon, June 15, the Doomstead Diner hosted a video discussion of the prospects for China. In addition to Doomstead‘s RE and Monsta (or whatever their real names are), the discussion included me, Tom Lewis, of The Daily Impact and Ugo Bardi of the University of Florence, Italy and the blog Cassandra Legacy. Or whatever our real names are. Running time is just over an hour — an hour you will never get back.

Global Pandemic Affecting Growth

A heartbroken teenager absorbs the news that his growth rate is slowing and may soon stop altogether. Given his bleak prospects, thoughts of suicide cannot be ruled out. (Photo by bngdesigns/pixabay)

A heartbroken teenager absorbs the news that his growth rate is slowing and may soon stop altogether. Given his bleak prospects, thoughts of suicide cannot be ruled out. (Photo by bngdesigns/pixabay)

A mysterious affliction that is affecting human growth rates has apparently spread unnoticed around the world. “We are seeing normal growth rates of three or so inches a year decline, over the space of a few years, to a half inch or even less,” said one scientist who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to take the blame. “For some reason it seems to be affecting young people, in their late teens.”

“Growth is essential to the economy,” said an economist who preferred not to be identified because he’s tired of all the ridicule. “The clothing industry depends on it, as does the basketball industry, just to name two. The effect on them is likely to be catastrophic.” Continue reading

The Ten Commandments, 2nd Ed., Rev. 3

There’s nothing wrong with the original Ten that a little updating can’t fix. (Photo by George Bannister/Flickr)

There’s nothing wrong with the original Ten that a little updating can’t fix. (Photo by George Bannister/Flickr)

People keep saying, “Why are you so negative all the time, why don’t you help fix things?” Oh, all right. Here are ten laws (or amendments to laws) that will fix everything. Now leave me alone. Continue reading

The Theory of Everything Stupid

To be a success in today’s America, it helps to either dumb or dumber. Why is that? (Photo by insomniacuredhere/Flickr)

To be a success in today’s America, it helps to either dumb or dumber. Why is that?
(Photo by insomniacuredhere/Flickr)

Let me be clear: the headline of this piece is to be read, “The theory of everything (that is) stupid,” NOT “The theory of everything, comma, stupid.” It’s my intention to insult a lot of people here, but if you are reading this without benefit of a forefinger, not you.

America is subsiding into a new Dark Age. Its leaders are more ignorant every day, its authorities more brutal, its people more supine. To remain ignorant when the availability of information is greater than it has ever been in human history, to govern viciously and intrusively when the government is more powerful and the governed more subservient, than ever, defies comprehension. Until we formulate a theory of everything stupid. Continue reading

One of Our Islands is Missing

Going, going....  How is it we let one of our islands get away from us without learning anything? (Photo by Highcamera Aerial Photography Service)

Cedar Island, Virginia, going, going…. How is it we let one of our islands get away from us without learning anything? (Photo by Highcamera Aerial Photography Service)

The story of Cedar Island, Virginia, is a quintessentially American story, of a man who had a dream, who wrested from an empty landscape a vision of congestion, postage-stamp-sized, $100,000 lots — lots of lots — along with seaside highways, entertainments and villas. He called his vision “Ocean City, Virginia,” and it endured for half a century. But now Cedar Island’s 2,000 acres, dozens of seaside homes, and dreams of wretched excess have been wiped from the face of the earth by an implacably rising sea. Is this a great country, or what? Continue reading

How About Them Redskins? No offense.

redskins helmet

A gladiator of the Washington DC cult whose name may not be spoken. We’re here to help. (Photo by Kieth Allison/Flickr)

[WARNING: The following essay contains irony. If you are allergic or immune to irony, do not read it. Your head could explode.]

The population of the civilized world, by which of course I mean most of the original 48 states (I won’t say which are not included, you know who I mean) is divided into 32 cults, each organized around a team of gladiators who compete regularly in giant arenas. The  gladiators’ ferocious combats are attended by tens of thousands of acolytes (they call themselves “fans”) and are watched on television by hundreds of thousands more. They involve the maneuvering of a small oval ball on a field, and frequently feature combatants being carried off with broken bones and scrambled brains.  The sect members wear the colors and symbols of their team, venerate its mascot, organize their lives around its combats, bet heavily on the outcomes, and devote their lives to adulation. The high priests of this culture become enormously rich.

But all is not well in this paradise. Continue reading

The Enhanced Interrogation of The Daily Impact

Surly (right), RE (center), and Monsta (in turban) discuss the philosophy of TEOTWAKI with editor Tom Lewis of the Daily Impact (aloft).

Surly (right), RE (center), and Monsta (in turban) of The Doomstead Diner discuss the philosophy of TEOTWAWKI with editor Tom Lewis of the Daily Impact (aloft). Fortunately it was audio only.

The wait staff at the Doomstead Diner (Surly, RE and Monsta) spent nearly two hours (!) the other day interrogating Tom Lewis, the chief typist here at The Daily Impact, to learn the secret of his stunning lack of success. The first half of the interview, covering Lewis’s role in setting the Cuyahoga River on fire and ghostwriting Silent Spring, can be heard here. Even more to come. [Spoiler alert: in the end, he confesses to knowing how to save the world, but claims he forgot.]

 

Holiday Repost: Farewell to 2014

For what we are about to lose, Dear Lord, we thank You. (Photo by Terren in Virginia/Flickr)

For what we are about to lose, Dear Lord, we thank You. (Photo by Terren in Virginia/Flickr)

 

[The Daily Impact is on hiatus for the holiday season. For your consideration, I leave you with a repost of a meditation on “The Last Good Year,” and a reminder that in 2015 it would be well to Brace for Impact.]

Thanksgiving is coming, and Christmas and Kwanzaa and Hanukkah and New Year’s, and we should make the best of them. These are the good old days, and we should celebrate them well, because we are probably not going to see their like again. Gas is cheaper than it was, and we should go to see the relatives this year, because next year will be different. Food is a little more expensive than it was, yet we should eat hearty nevertheless, because next year will be different. Continue reading

Peak Bullets: the Weirdest Shortage of them All

(Photo by Mojave Desert/Flickr)

Once, this is what you bought for a buck to deal with rats. Now it’s a priceless commodity? (Photo by Mojave Desert/Flickr)

During the past six years or so, I have had occasion from time to time to go into a WalMart, or a Gander Mountain store, or  some other sporting goods establishment, wherein I have asked the question: “Do you have any .22 caliber ammunition?” On every occasion, the answer has been “No.” Each time I asked, “When are you going to get some in?” and was told, “Don’t know.” If I went even further and asked, “When was the last time you had some in stock?’ the answer was along the lines of, “Three months ago, on a Monday morning, for about 15 minutes.” I thought it was odd, the first few times it happened. Then I found out the same thing was happening all across the country. And was going on for year after year, and that weirded me out. Continue reading