American Vandal

If you were, like I was, completely disappointed in how the first season of Serial podcast turned out, and therefore a little resentful that you wasted so many hours listening to it, there is hope. Netflix’s American Vandal applies the Serial formula to the (fictional) case of “who drew all the dicks on the teacher’s cars?”

The timeline. The missing half hour. The cell phone records. The back and forth of “I believe him! I don’t believe him!” The endless spiral of chasing-down of witnesses’ credibilities. But it’s not about murder, it’s about high school kids and big red dicks painted on cars.

So much fun. So far, anyway. Seems like this kind of thing could wear thin quickly. But, for now, it’s redeeming all the time I wasted on Serial!

The New Swamp

This guy is even worse than he seemed at first.

WASHINGTON — One of President Trump’s most controversial judicial nominees did not disclose on publicly available congressional documents that he is married to a senior lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office.

The nominee, Brett J. Talley, is awaiting a Senate confirmation vote that could come as early as Monday to become a federal district judge in Alabama. He is married to Ann Donaldson, the chief of staff to the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II.

Mr. Talley was asked on his publicly released Senate questionnaire to identify family members and others who are “likely to present potential conflicts of interest.” He did not mention his wife.

District judges often provide the first ruling when laws are called into question, decisions that can put them at odds with the White House and its lawyers. Last month, for example, judges in Hawaii and Maryland temporarily blocked Mr. Trump’s travel ban.

Mr. Talley also did not mention his wife when he described his frequent contact with White House lawyers during the nomination process.

I suppose it’s standard operating procedure in the Trump WH.

With A Gun

Lots of good stuff in this article.

Before the initial shock wore off in the aftermath of yet another horrific American mass shooting—before we knew about the extent of the injury and death, or the events that transpired or the biography and motives of yet another angry white male armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a grudge—before we really knew anything, President Donald Trump jumped into the fray with a diagnosis. “Mental health is your problem here,” Trump opined from Tokyo in his first comments after 26 people died when a gunman opened fire on a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas. “This isn’t a guns situation,” he said. “This is a mental health problem at the highest level.”

Respectfully, Mr. President: It’s not that easy.

If there were a Propensity to Mass Violence disease, perhaps it would make a little more sense to involve psychiatrists in identifying potential mass murderers. But absent a formal means of assessing predictive violence, such as a diagnosis, mental health practitioners are often left to trust the power of their observations when asked to gauge which one of the thousands of patients they see might go on to commit a violent act such as a mass shooting. And, unfortunately, we’re not that great at it. As gun expert Jeffrey Swanson succinctly puts it when summarizing a great deal of research, “psychiatrists using clinical judgment are not much better than chance at predicting which individual patients will do something violent and which will not.”

And this stood out:

As such, I believe there are more meaningful ways for psychiatrists to help in the effort against gun violence and mass shootings: by also addressing shifting American beliefs and attitudes around guns, and about our increasingly polarized reactions to mass shootings. As but one example, in 1999, far more gun owners cited hunting, rather than self-protection, as the main reason they owned guns. By 2013, those attitudes had shifted: 48 percent said protection was the main reason to own a gun, while 32 percent pointed to hunting. The question of why Americans feel so unsafe around, and mistrustful of each other seems like a pressing one for mental health experts.

The saying goes, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun“.

And, ‘good guy with a gun’ was present at the TX church shooting. He didn’t stop what happened, but he was there, and he’s received a lot of accolades for at least slowing down the shooter. And if he saved lives, that’s good.

But here’s the thing: if you’re carrying a gun in defense, or for ‘protection’, or you’re carrying a gun thinking you might need to be that ‘good guy with a gun’, your actions are a consequence of the fear that the 2nd Amendment requires. So, not only does this fear require non-gun owners to live in fear of being shot, it requires that gun owners also experience that fear. Which is great for gun makers but terrible for everyone else. More guns around, more wanna-be vigilantes, more guns ready to be used whenever the owner has a bad day.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun“.

See the problem?

Party Line

This fucking clown is going to be deciding people’s fates.

Brett J. Talley, President Trump’s nominee to be a federal judge in Alabama, has never tried a case, was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Assn.’s judicial rating committee, has practiced law for only three years and, as a blogger last year, displayed a degree of partisanship unusual for a judicial nominee, denouncing “Hillary Rotten Clinton” and pledging support for the National Rifle Assn.

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee, on a party-line vote, approved him for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.

Talley, 36, is part of what Trump has called the “untold story” of his success in filling the courts with young conservatives.

Butter y males.

This cannot work

I noticed links here from posts back to older posts had stopped working. After fighting WordPress for an hour I decided to go nuclear and start messing with my .htaccess file – which feels like deciding to (eh, what the hell! hold my beer!) replace my car’s gas tank.

It looks like I fixed the immediate problem, but there’s no way I didn’t break something else.

So, if you see something, say something.