Some tough talk from the Trump stump via HuffPost Entertainment:
Via The Nightly Show:
Putin’s regime has destroyed more than 300 tons of banned food imports from Europe. Meanwhile, 16.1 million Russians are living below the poverty line and could have benefited from some of the food. That is, if Putin actually cared about the people he is supposedly governing.
Here is a satire video of a shop owner lighting some ham and cheese on fire in protest:
And here is a petition against Putin’s action.
I think the argument, which some moderate Christians in the past and even today have put forward, namely that evolution by natural selection was a mechanism put in place and and guided by the omnipotent and all-loving God of the Bible, implodes on itself right from the start, and Darwin, a former Christian, was obviously sharp enough to realize this, and thus he abandoned the faith and became an agnostic.
Way back in 1872, Robert Ingersoll smashed the argument for divinely-inspired evolution to bits in his work, “The Gods” and proceeded to outline an impenetrable argument on the problem of evil.
Thanks to John Loftus for passing along this quote, which was, in turn, ferreted out by professor John Schneider, who described the following passage as a “killer quote from him that should intimidate any thoughtful believer in the Christian God and make them think along lines that evangelical theology cannot even begin to do, much less cope with the problem he raised in the light of Darwinism.”
Here is Ingersoll:
Would an infinitely wise, good and powerful God, intending to produce man, commence with the lowest possible forms of life; with the simplest organism that can be imagined, and during immeasurable periods of time, slowly and almost imperceptibly improve upon the rude beginning, until man was evolved? Would countless ages thus be wasted in the production of awkward forms, afterwards abandoned? Can the intelligence of man discover the least wisdom in covering the earth with crawling, creeping horrors, that live only upon the agonies and pangs of others? Can we see the propriety of so constructing the earth, that only an insignificant portion of its surface is capable of producing an intelligent man? Who can appreciate the mercy of so making the world that all animals devour animals; so that every mouth is a slaughter house, and every stomach a tomb? Is it possible to discover infinite intelligence and love in universal and eternal carnage?
What would we think of a father, who should give a farm to his children, and before giving them possession should plant upon it thousands of deadly shrubs and vines; should stock it with ferocious beasts, and poisonous reptiles; should take pains to put a few swamps in the neighborhood to breed malaria; should so arrange matters, that the ground would occasionally open and swallow a few of his darlings, and besides all this, should establish a few volcanoes in the immediate vicinity, that might at any moment overwhelm his children with rivers of fire? Suppose that this father neglected to tell his children which of the plants were deadly; that the reptiles were poisonous; failed to say anything about the earthquakes, and kept the volcano business a profound secret; would we pronounce him angel or fiend?
And yet this is exactly what the orthodox God has done.
According to the theologians, God prepared this globe expressly for the habitation of his loved children, and yet he filled the forests with ferocious beasts; placed serpents in every path; stuffed the world with earthquakes, and adorned its surface with mountains of flame.
Notwithstanding all this, we are told that the world is perfect; that it was created by a perfect being, and is therefore necessarily perfect. The next moment, these same persons will tell us that the world was cursed; covered with brambles, thistles and thorns, and that man was doomed to disease and death, simply because our poor, dear mother ate an apple contrary to the command of an arbitrary God.
What’s more ridiculous than Deflategate? A story about a courtroom artist botching a drawing of Tom Brady, of course.
All told, Brady kind of looks like a cross between George Takei and Daniel Dae Kim, except with gray hair. So yeah, I would say it’s a bad sketch:
This genius, Shawn Fuller, 31, of Statesville, N.C., was firing a weapon during an alleged domestic dispute about 3:30 a.m. Sunday at his home when he, according to police, shot his two young children, and then, after admitting to the murders and claiming that he would also kill police officers, tried to commit suicide — ironically and unsuccessfully. According to a neighbor, Fuller owned high-powered rifles and handguns.
He is in critical condition after the botched suicide attempt, according to The Charlotte Observer.
Here is how the Wonkette blog framed the incident:
In what would, in a sane nation, be a national outrage, a responsible lover of the Second Amendment murdered his two little boys, aged three and four, before turning the gun on himself and not quite managing to commit suicide. In a sane nation, there might also be something shocking about this being the second time since December that a vocal open-carry advocate has shot family members to death. But we live in America, so it’s just one more story that we’ll read, shake our heads at, and perhaps wonder if it’s ever going to be time to talk about guns.
No. It is never going to be time to talk about guns. They are our national fetish item. They are America. If you speak ill of guns you’re a fool, a Nazi, a tool of the government that wants to take all the guns away, or worse, far worse, a wimp. Also you’re pretty ghoulish to politicize the tragic deaths of two little boys — too young to have even started kindergarten, for Christ’s sake — by turning their deaths into fodder for yet another ineffectual call for maybe some common sense talk about guns. Because freedom isn’t free, and a man needs a gun to protect his family. Who’ll protect his family from the man with the gun? Shut up, you gun-grabber. You’re just playing to emotions instead of recognizing the fact that guns save lives. Except when they don’t.
… It sure sounds like Shawn Fuller was just a typical American gun-humper, albeit perhaps a more frequently liquored-up version of the standard model. His sudden drunken murder of his children shouldn’t be blamed on guns, of course — he could have killed them any number of ways, as our deleted commenters are sure to remind us. And most gun owners aren’t angry drunks, or at least we hope they aren’t. But Shawn Fuller had a gun handy when he was drunk and angry, and it sure is remarkable how often that combination ends up with somebody dead and a mother sobbing.
Still, the super-patriot open-carry gun-humpers are right about one thing: The Second Amendment ensured that Josiah Fuller and Uriah Fuller won’t ever have to live under a tyrannical, out-of control government that crushes their liberty.
As I was pointing out to a friend of mine on Facebook, who made the specious claim that America has strict gun laws — perhaps compared with Libya — I don’t go quite as far as some of my progressive peers in calling for the expungement of all guns from society because I don’t think it’s feasible. I do, however, scratch my head when I see individuals, and the nation at large, continue to shirk the heavy responsibility that we have to prevent those with mental illness from being able to carry firearms. Clearly we have a problem that needs addressing with assault rifles and automatic weapons, and we could do more to educate the public on gun safety and run more comprehensive background checks.
According to the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. has the highest number of guns per 100 people among seven of the world’s most developed nations and more gun-related homicides by far than any of those nations. And we have no laws on the books that ban “semiautomatic assault weapons, military-style .50 caliber rifles, handguns, or large-capacity ammunition magazine,” according to the CFR. A ban on assault weapons expired 11 years ago. Meanwhile, we have the least strict guns of all developed nations and apparently, given how often guns get into the hands of nutcases, the laws on the books don’t do enough to prevent those with mental issues from gaining access (Part of this paragraph is from the above-referenced conversation on Facebook).
I think handguns have a some uses for personal protection and like Obama, I think hunting is an important part of American life, but while I am willing to make those limited concessions, assault weapons and other automatic weapons clearly serve no purpose in civil society, other than, of course, causing chaos and stroking the dicks of adrenaline junkies and power-hungry cops.
The depressing part in all of this is that few, if any, on the state or national level feel any urgency to make changes, even as the bodies continue piling up, and most Americans, likewise feeling the malaise, just throw up their hands, call a tragedy by its name and move on.
Spoiler alert: God’s not a fan of witches, slaves, necromancers not named Jesus, the dickless, clothes made from both cotton and polyester, specificity and sweeping generalities, depending on the verse:
The following video, which, judging by the title, aims to “explain” economics to liberals, was posted by a friend of mine on Facebook, and while I know it was intended to be humorous and not a scholarly look at supply-side economics versus so-called “middle class economics,” the dismissive tone on liberal economic theory as naive or not well thought out is shortsighted at best:
That said, I felt compelled to offer a couple points to ponder.
First, the wealthy certainly have a role to play in any capitalistic economy, but the point that seems to be lost by the speaker in the video is that subsidies to bolster the lower and middle class, and the economic theory behind these policies, are intended to serve as a more direct route toward stimulating the economy, whereas supply-side economics hinges on the assumption, by the same strained logic that could have actually contributed to the economic depression of 1896 and other recessions in our nation’s history, not the least of which was the recession in 2008, that the wealthy will always be willing and able to invest in new industries.
While investments into new jobs and startups by the wealthy is definitely admirable, the fruits of that labor are contingent on several variables — demand, owner competency, etc. — before the lion’s share of those resources begin to make it to the lower and middle classes in the long term, aside from the initial pool of jobs, construction work, etc., to open the business.
Supply-side economics, although it may have some merit in some cases, is an indirect, wait and see approach, analogous to treating a patient with an experimental drug. Indeed, we have tried this experiment of limited regulations and tax breaks for the rich for the better part of 30 years now, and the gap between the rich and the poor is higher than it’s ever been.
Second, this report from The Wall Street Journal, which is unapologetically conservative, backs up the statement in the video above that a large number of rich people invest in startups — 35.8 percent of the super rich who make over $20 million — but more than 70 percent of these folks actually prefer to put their money into hedge funds, not startups.
In the middle bracket of rich people ($5-$10 million), only 9.3 percent invest in startups and 38 percent prefer hedge funds. A little more than 4 percent in the $500,000-$1 million income category invested in startups.
I don’t think anyone will argue against the fact that private investments by wealthy people are an important part of the economy, but to imply, as the video seems to do, that benevolent wealthy people spend all their time sawing away at ideas that might create jobs for the country is pure delusion.
Wealthy people will do what is best for wealthy people; sometimes that means investing in startups if they think it’s economically viable, but more often than not it seems, that means putting their oodles of money into hedge funds and private equity accounts, not startups.