The Cold War and why we’ll never willingly get rid of guns

Another dude walked into a public place an shot at people today. This time it was lawmakers. So it goes.

I’ve given up on gun debates. If the senseless killing of innocent children at their elementary school doesn’t move people to change, a watershed moment is not coming for gun regulation.

The problem isn’t really about gun ownership either. It’s about gun access. Even the ones we already own. I don’t own a firearm, but I can get behind eccentric hobbies. And if all you ever want to do is participate in shooting sports with assault weapons, there are ways to make that safe for everyone. If guns are kept in guarded, secure, centralized locations, own as many as you want. Enjoy your marksmanship games. Hold up your paper with the bullseyes and smile for Facebook. Then lock your rifle up at the gun bank. (I don’t suggest locking every firearm in a third locaiton, which is why I don’t mention hunting rifles and the like. But assault weapons that can cause such devastation should have a home that is not yours or mine).

The catch: Americans will never agree on whom should be the neutral third party to hold weapons. Ain’t no way the American electorate will ever willingly hand over their guns to their government. And who can blame us, right? As much as I’d love to keep guns off the streets, a Trump administration seizing all the weapons (while telling us that no personal digital information is private) is the prologue of a ham-fisted attempt to cross Kurt Vonnegut with George Orwell and McSweeney’s for a tired sci-fi novel.

Admittedly, “never trust your government,” is sort of the whole raison d’être of the constitution. But what can’t be discounted is the effect Cold War administrations had on public trust of the systems that lead. The first half of the twentieth century was defined by patriotism, civics, and general bipartisan cooperation to make the world better – at the very least, it was these things to white people who, by and large, are the ones so skittish now. But the Cold War poisoned all of that. Rampant delusional idealism, toxic paranoia, and a run of bad presidents led to the revelation that the guy in the foil hat was right. They were listening to conversations. They were toppling governments. They were killing innocent people. They were lying to us. 

You can’t put that woke back into Pandora’s lockbox and pretty soon you have chemtrails, flat-earth truthers, and Pizzagate. If anything can be a lie, everything can be a lie. It goes all the way to the top, man. We live in the Matrix and whatnot.

And now, we have a world where Americans base their trust not on whom they can believe, but on whom they definitely will not believe.

News media, politicians, religious leaders, parents – there’s no one.

In other words, it’s going to be a slow, difficult grind toward gun safety. There won’t be one, or two, or ten, or fifty-eight thousand five hundred ninety-five moments that change the hearts and minds. It will only happen with long-term, consistent effort from those in the trenches, who need our support. 

Because the day is not coming that paranoid, gun-lovin’ white people again trust that their government has their interests first in mind. If it does, it’s not in the kind of world that gives two shits about gun regulation.

Radiohead is good.

Light beams from the stage of Phillips Arena.
Last weekend I saw Radiohead play an arena show in Atlanta. I sat in the back-right nosebleeds. The stage was barely visible. And it was incredible.

I shy away from the idea of favorites generally, but Radiohead is a group that consistently speaks to me on an artistic, an emotional, and an intellectual level. This was only my second time seeing them, and I’m thankful for each. They don’t tour often nor for long and they aren’t cheap when they do.

Radiohead shines at adapting their art from studio to stage. All of their albums have been heavily produced, but the later ones reflect a level of meticulous, hands-on production that becomes its own character. Every segment has more layers than one could count. Every single sound sample, riff and effect is painstakingly precise. And it’s so heavily lacquered with processed sound that even the most common instruments sound like bizarro versions of themselves from the Upside Down.

So how to you make all of this work on stage? There aren’t 75 people on stage managing all the variations of production effects, so ultimately you’re left with the basic tools that every other rock band in the world has at their disposal.

The difference of sound is stark, but poetic. Each variation of each line, each riff, each beat is a statement that the music is living and that its creators are ever innovating on the art they create. A bit that is lacking is compensated for by another, keeping the balance and the soul of the music alive. A song is a strange new iteration of itself, while completely whole. It’s a profound feat, but it’s especially impressive when the degree of difficulty is so high with all of the precious, neurotic little details.

Of course, studio to stage adaptation is the challenge of all performing artists. Radiohead just does it better than the rest of them.

hot-takes 1-5

Cards lost to the Irish last night, and Grayson Allen is back from his “indefinite” suspension. So, bummer way to end a bummer day in KY.

WFPL: Lawmakers Still Crafting Bill To Codify Bevin’s U of L Overhaul

Bevin’s office maintains that the governor has broad powers to temporarily reorganize university boards while the legislature isn’t in session. Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd disagreed last fall, saying that the governor’s abolishment of the U of L board amounted to a wholesale firing of the school’s trustees.

Small gubment.

Meanwhile, our sitting president published an article about criminal justice reform in the Harvard Law Review today.

Harvard Law Review: The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal justice is a complex system, administered at all levels of government and shaped by a range of actors. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of so many in my Administration, the bipartisan push for reform from federal, state, and local officials, and the work of so many committed citizens outside government, America has made important strides. We have reduced overlong sentences for offenders and removed barriers for those with criminal records. We have made progress in helping people, especially young people, avoid getting entangled in the justice system in the first place.

What’d you do today?

Slate’s Amicus with Dahlia Lithwick: Corruption in the White House

If you’re interested in free speech (PRO TIP: you damn well better be), the second half of this episode has 👌🏾 snippets from the The 2016 Jefferson Symposium. I’ll be listening to all of the them over the next few days.

Me? I’m just gonna sit here and listen to Boxer, eat leftover chili, and rock back and forth.


hot-takes 1-4

KY Congressional Assembly started today and they ain’t wasting time.

Lexington Herald Leader: Abortion ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy put on fast track in Kentucky Senate

Stivers said his personal preference would be to ban abortions starting at a date before 20 weeks.

“This is my belief: there are two viable beings involved,” he said. “One had a choice early on to make a decision to conceive or not. Once conception starts, another life is involved, and the legislature has the ability to determine how that life proceeds.”

Hard not to hear ‘she shouldn’t have had sex’ in there.

There’s also this proven winner coming around the bend.

[…] amend KRS 7.100 to require that the Legislative Research Commission designate every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility it controls to only be used by persons based on their biological sex […]


Blazing tired, thoroughly blazed garbage trails here, comrades.

On the flip side, awesome to see this.


You gotta give it to him.

Renewing Medium’s focus

So, we are shifting our resources and attention to defining a new model for writers and creators to be rewarded, based on the value they’re creating for people. And toward building a transformational product for curious humans who want to get smarter about the world every day.

I had actually been flirting with moving all of this over to Medium as my primary platform. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Day 1.

hot-takes 1-3

The morning after the House tried to gut the Independent Ethics Office in a private meeting, errbody called Mr. Goodlatte.

So they walked it back. Nice work, phone havers.

I think we earned this one.

The Hill: Ryan asks lawmaker’s son to stop ‘dabbing’

Ryan can be heard in the video asking if the young man was all right.

“Do you want to put your hand down?” Ryan asks. “Are you going to sneeze?”

*kisses fingers until 2018*

(via Barry T. Smith)

NYT: How Russians Pay to Play in Other Countries

“The Russians systematically fill any open space, and they try to expand it,” said Martin Stropnicky, the Czech defense minister. “They have years of practice, and they are not in a hurry.”

Fascinating stuff in here. I think this is the old one with Spectre, except I like Christoph Waltz better.

The new congress is here.

WLKY: State legislature to convene Tuesday

“There are a lot of social issues that we will tackle eventually, but right now we want to stay focused. We want people to have a job. Nobody cares what bathroom you go into if they can’t get a job,” House Majority Whip Kevin Bratcher (R), said.

Classy. Should be an interesting session. This guy now has his seat and nameplate.

Anyway, football season is ending and the championship is coming and I hope they both lose [though one a bit more (NSFW)], so here are some basketball jollies.


hot takes 12-29

I was ill over the holidays and wasn’t able to check twitter but it held up just fine without me.

Aeon: Why bullshit is no laughing matter

Good piece on vigilance of ಠ_ಠ in what you’re reading. tl;dr, all inspirational quotes are clickbait bullshit.

[…] If we were to add up every word in every scholarly piece of work published prior to the Enlightenment, this number would still pale in comparison with the number of words used to promulgate bullshit on the internet in the 21st century alone.

If you find your head nodding, start shaking it. I’m bullshitting you.

it me


NYT: Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking

In the end, Mr. Obama decided to expand an executive order that he issued in April 2015, after the Sony hacking. He signed it in Hawaii on Thursday morning, specifically giving himself and his successor the authority to issue travel bans and asset freezes on those who “tamper with, alter, or cause a misappropriation of information, with a purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions.”

COOL. Probably won’t be used broadly or out of context. Nooooope.

sorry for the 😑 take on this but expanding executive power isn’t awesome or timely.

The Concourse: The Year In Ted Cruz Humiliations

The best year-in-review thus far.

And since we’re all pretty upset about Carrie, here’s one of my favorites

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson Carrie Fisher 2013, Jan 18th

The best.


hot takes 12/21

I finally got up the gumption to catch up on my political podcasts today. All because avoiding anything about UofL v UK was paramount.

Those 🔥 🍑 takes are for tomorrow.

A Conversation with the Busiest Person in Politics: Alex, Trump Store Manager

… in case you wanted one of those ornaments.

or a racist hat.

Why I Hate Thursday Night Football

Richard Sherman is woke af. This is a topic that should wash over college football, maybe even more than the NFL. Dudes have classes, papers, homework, exams, and no millions of dollars. Hotel rooms suck for focus.

Scott Baio’s take is now in …

And while the university may be floundering in a pile of unethical bile, UofL beat UK in 🏀 tonight and imma celebrate.


hot takes 12-20

I took a little break and actually enjoyed this weekend of not thinking about bad stuff. But the takes just keep on a’comin’. There are more, recent things, but I wanted to make sure to squeeze these in.

This Trump voter didn’t think Trump was serious about repealing her health insurance

The bit that got me — when asked ‘why trump’:

Well … we liked him because he just seemed to be a businessman.

We’re in a small, rural area where there’s not a lot of businesses right now going on, and so we can’t really have anything else shut down, because it affects everybody.

I guess I always just thought that it would be there. I was thinking that once it was made into a law that it could not be changed, but I guess it can? Yes?

This person has a family member with a bad liver insured under obamacare. But the economy turned around without coal, and they don’t think of healthcare as a government service, so: Jobs.


Slate’s Amicus with Dahlia Lithwick: Where We Draw the Line

Good convo on voter suppression legality in the first half that’s pretty enlightening. Interview with Marc Elias, lawyer who represented a few recent gerrymandering cases.

Meanwhile, UofL is burning, so my degree may be null soon.

AND V IMPORTANT TAKES FOR THE WEEK *The Incomparable*talks about Rogue One.

It's lit.

The Incomparable: 331: I Refuse To Call It a Prequel

Honestly, even though this was literally a story of guerrilla warfare and an evil empire, a new Star Wars movie was a nice escape.

hot takes 12/13

Slow morning yielded some good stuff.

First, that < thread > from yesterday was 🔥 today.

Oldie but goodie from last week.

Jurich threatens to leave Yum! Center and build on-campus arena due to ‘criminal’ rhetoric

just gonna highlight this bit that I missed last week.

In the middle of his criticism of unnamed city leaders, Jurich added that “I really appreciate this governor, and I want to do anything that I can to help and support him, but he’s the only one I really want to help.”


Stanford Band Accuses University Of Sanitizing Them To Protect School’s “Well-Manicured Image”

The band chalks all their current trouble up to a mere “pitcher of beer – shared by three of-age band alumni at a friend’s farewell dinner.” That doesn’t address the allegations that the band had a culture of alcohol abuse and hazing, but even though the statement ignores the specifics of their case, their larger-scale points ring true. Stanford is an incredibly staid institution and the band—while a faux-subversive organization with a shoddy sense of humor—is a genuine outlier at a place that strives to be a streamlined Silicon Valley finishing school.

This is all from the band’s suspension, which was passed down this weekend.

"Let’s not even talk about the egregious timing with finals knocking at the door. I for one have never felt so empty inside, as the Stanford band was my safe space, my smultronställe, my everything. I’m left hapless wondering if Stanford actually gives a shit about me.”

Don’t worry, they define it in the next paragraph.

The Run-Up: The Woman Behind The Caricature

Kellyanne Conway sits down with NYT, so it’s worth a listen. Fascinating.

By the way she directly compares Ben Carson to Barack Obama.


iOS 10.2 Emoji Changelog

Most important takeaways: the jeans are cuffed and the peach is still an 🍑.

Better spiral day today.

hot takes 12/12

My political spirals aren’t getting better. I’m constantly distracted by news about the new Prez-elect and the impending wave that is coming after inauguration.

I’m reading a lot and rarely documenting. So here is some of it, with a bit of my own bullshit thrown in for good measure.

Slate’s Trumpcast: The Good Fight

💯 episode on the implication of DT administration on other young democracies globally. There’s a knee-jerk, Stockholm syndrome-y tendency to lump baby-hands in with a number of other despotic dudes without acknowledging the example the American Republic lends. This ain’t Poland, basically.

Long damn thread rofl lulz. But “Now is the time for Patriots” is cool. Read it or don’t.

Update: it’s now a meme.

Update: ¯_(ツ)_/¯

At least there was this thing to think about.

Even among other Heisman winners, Jackson is in elite company.


Oh and if you haven’t already read the WaPo coverage of the Russia election extravaganza, I’m not sure you belong here.

Anyway, that’s it for today. ✌🏾