Wednesday, January 16, 2013

tit for rat-a-tat-tat

do we need an AR-15 "assault" rifle?... gun rights opponents offer anecdotal evidence for banning guns... but is there similar anecdotal evidence for possession of firearms?... here's some possible examples:

Civil Rights:
“The Klan would drive through our neighborhood shooting at us, shooting into our homes,” recalled Hicks, 66, who grew up in Bogalusa, La., and has been a civil rights activist in the District for more than 35 years. “The black men in the community wouldn’t stand for it. You shoot at us, we shoot back at you. I’m convinced that without our guns, my family and many other black people would not be alive today.”
Family Protection:
“I went around and went into the house, ran upstairs and told my wife to call the police. I get the gun and I go outside and I come into the doorway and now, by this time, they are in the driveway, back here near the house. I tell them, you know, ‘Can you please leave?’ Grier said. Grier said the five men dared him to use the gun; and that their shouts brought another larger group of gang members in front of his house. “He starts threatening my family, my life. ‘Oh you’re dead. I’m gonna kill your family and your babies. You’re dead.’ So when he says that, 20 others guys come rushing around the corner. And so I fired four warning shots into the grass,” Grier said.
Economic Protection:
"If it was your own business and your own property, would you be willing to trust it to someone else? We are glad the National Guard is here. They're good backup. But when our shops were burning we called the police every five minutes; no response." But this morning, amid the empty shelves of the Western Gun Shop, the two men spoke in anger and despair of the failure of the police to protect them, of the collapse of their American dream, and of a sister and sister-in-law who are now hospitalized with gunshot wounds fired from a crowd of looters. "I want to make it clear that we didn't open fire first," said David Joo, manager of the gun shop. "At that time, four police cars were there. Somebody started to shoot at us. The L.A.P.D. ran away in half a second. I never saw such a fast escape. I was pretty disappointed."
Wrong Door Raids:
A 59-year-old Myanmar refugee, Po La Hay, suffered broken bones and a gashed head when a police tactical squad burst into his Sanford Avenue North apartment on May 4, 2010 in search of an alleged drug dealer who, it turned out, was living next door. Hay and his family filed suit in 2011 against 16 police officers involved. The case was settled out of court.
Police Misconduct:
Police went onto the couple's balcony and shined lights into the apartment, where the couple was sleeping. After an hour on scene, police decided to enter the apartment through an unlocked front door, according to the suit, filed Dec. 31 in Multnomah County Circuit Court. At that point, Lopez woke up and told officers to get out of his bedroom. Instead, the suit says that Officer Shaun Sahli grabbed Lopez, while Officer Matthew Wells Tasered him twice. He was then arrested for harassment and interfering with a police officer. As the struggle began, the suit continues, Hill was pulled by her arms out of the bed by two officers. She was then forced to stand in her living room in just a tank top and underwear until she was later brought a blanket. Officers searched the room, which Hill says was left with a mattress up against a the closet, trash can dumped out and her closet in disarray.

On MLK holiday, walking for civil rights and the Second Amendment
By Courtland Milloy, Published: January 15

Long Island Man Arrested For Defending Home With AK-47
September 7, 2010 11:00 PM

RIOT IN LOS ANGLES: Pocket of Tension; A Target of Rioters, Koreatown Is Bitter, Armed and Determined
By SETH MYDANS Published: May 03, 1992

No Police Act charges in Po La Hay beating
By ROSIE GROVER Tue Sep 18 2012 19:41:00

Lawsuit: Portland Cops Tased Man, Made Woman Stand in Her Underwear
By ANDREA DAMEWOOD January 3rd, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

you only think you see - blog repost

A friend of mine turned my attention to an interview with Guy Deutscher, an Israeli linguist who published the book “Through the Language Mirror”, in which he is advancing the argument that the basis of language is informed by the way we perceive and name colors. The book was translated into 8 languages and was selected by the New York Times, The Economist and the Financial Times as one of the best books published in 2010.

Water, Water Everywhere, and not a Hint of Blue

Even if you haven’t read the Homeric epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey you must have heard his famous, and enigmatic, description of the “wine-red sea”. Wine-red? Has anybody ever seen the sea in anything even remotely resembling this color? Could the famous blue of the Aegean Sea, where the Homeric events took place, ever be other than brilliant blue? Literary scholars struggled mightily with this strange depiction. Some attempts were so convoluted as to be laughable; none were persuasive.

Coming to think of it, another ancient document, based on oral folklore and epic poetry, was written at about the same time in history, the 5th century BCE. Yes, you guessed it: the Bible. Surprisingly, both the bible and the Iliad and Odyssey describe the sea in many ways, Like “big and wide”, or “stormy”, or “silent”, or “resting from his anger”, but never blue. (All you Biblical mavens, hold the gotcha emails: The color “tehelet”, mentioned in the bible was wrongly thought to mean blue. It is now known to be the color purple, extracted from sea shells found on the beaches of Israel and Lebanon).

Let’s dig a bit deeper in historical times: in the ancient tablets of Ugarit ( 8th century BCE), where many of the biblical tales originated from, there is no mention of the color blue. In the stories about the myriad fights between the Canaanite god of the sea, Yam, and the god of the earth and thunder and rain, the Baal, there are many depictions of the sea, but never its color. We can go even farther back in time. The linguist Lazarus Geiger noted almost a hundred years ago that ancient Indian epics dating to about four millennia ago, like the Mahabharata, describe the ocean in many ways, but never mention the color blue. And the same is true for ancient Chinese writings.

To compound the mystery, the colors red, black, and white are mentioned many times in the ancient manuscripts, and in the later one, like the bible and the Koran, green and yellow are mentioned as well. In fact, biblical Red is described in many of its hues (“argaman”-dark red, just like Homer’s sea, “shani”-pink, “siqrah”-deep red). And so is Green: olive green, grass green. but not a hint of blue. So what gives?

Early research

William Gladstone was a famous British prime minister at the beginning of the 20th century. But what is less known is that he was a classical scholar, and published a seminal 1700-page study of Homer’s epic poetry. In a 30-page chapter he describes Homer’s strange choice of colors (sheep wool and ox skin as purple, honey as green, horses and lions as red). The sky is studded with stars, wide, having an iron or copper hues. But, not one mention of blue.
Gladstone concluded that ancient people simply saw the world in colors different from the way we see it. He theorized that the present capacity to experience colors is thanks to rapid evolution in the structure of the eye. This we know is unlikely, because the time span is too short. Bear in mind though, that he proposed it as the idea of evolution was just getting under way. Lazarus Geiger, the linguist, discovered that in the modern European languages words for ‘blue’ are derived from ancient words for ‘black’ or ‘green’. Black and red predominated in the ancient texts of India. Later texts added yellow, green, violet and blue –in that order. This progression suggested to Geiger as well that some kind of evolutionary process was going on.

A few years later, a Swedish anatomist of the eye discovered that many people suffered from a hitherto unknown deficiency: color blindness. Presto: An ophthalmologist by the name of Hugo Magnus concluded that ancient people were all color blind in today’s terms, and with time, as the eye absorbed more colors, its sensitivity to them increased, and that newly acquired trait was passed on to subsequent generations. Today we know that acquired capabilities cannot be passed on genetically.

Enter the anthropologists. They wanted to see how primitive cultures that lived with limited or no contact with modern civilizations perceive colors. And they found what they were looking for. In 1898, the psychiatrist W.H. R. Rivers went to the Torres straits islands, between New Guinea and Australia.

There he investigated the islanders’ perception of colors. He was astonished to hear the elders describe the sky as black, and a child describing the color of the sky as dark and dirty water. He and other anthropologists concluded that early humans and isolated cultures were not color blind. They see all the colors that we see, but consider them as simply hues of white of black or red, not worth inventing a special word for.

Modern Research

Rivers, the psychiatrist cum anthropologist said that “there must be something that caused those natives to see the brilliant blue as duller and darker than we see it”.

Enter neurobiology. Today we know that this something resides in the brain. Deutscher believes that ‘black’ is a wider term for the islanders than for us, that they see blue as simply a hue of black. Is this unusual? Not at all. I see red in many hues. My wife sees peach, and orange and strawberry as distinct colors. But there is another factor at play here: scientists believe that it is not just a simple case of nomenclature; the islanders indeed perceive the sky a bit darker than we do. When we get used to seeing two hues as different colors, language trains us to see them as different entities. And the brain then exaggerates these differences, especially at the border areas between them. And thus blue, which we perceive as lighter and totally distinct from black, is in reality probably a bit darker and closer to black. In a sense, the “obvious” distinction between black and blue is figment of our imagination. Modern neurobiological research is providing ample evidence for that.

Why were black, white, and red the first colors to be perceived by our forefathers? The evolutionary explanation is quite straightforward: ancient humans had to distinguish between night and day. And red is important for recognizing blood and danger. Even today, in us moderns, the color red causes an increase in skin galvanic response, a sign of tension and alarm. Green and yellow entered the vocabulary as the need to distinguish ripe fruit from unripe, grasses that are green from grasses that are wilting, etc. But what is the need for naming the color blue? Blue fruits are not very common, and the color of the sky is not really vital for survival.

This is truly fascinating. First, here is a totally unexpected phenomenon: language influencing brain function. But even more “disturbing” is the realization that the way we see the world is somewhat of an illusion, a product of a trick played on us by none other than our own brain. Which brings us full circle to the ancient Greeks and Plato’s allegory of the cave. He posited that reality is an illusion, it is like the shadows of cave dwellers cast on the walls of a cave by a fire at the cave’s opening. We, standing outside the cave, see the shadows only, not the real occupants. Reality, as we see it, is illusory.

Mind boggling.

Evolution of the Color Blue
JULY 19, 2011
By Dov Michaeli

Thursday, January 3, 2013

banning effectiveness

According to the FBI annual crime statistics, the number of murders committed annually with hammers and clubs far outnumbers the number of murders committed with a rifle.

Year: 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Five Year Totals
Total Murder Victims 14,965 15,087 14,916 14,224 13,636 72,828
Not banning handguns 7,400 7,251 7,518 7,424 7,184 36,777
Assuming "Firearms, type not stated" are also handguns 5,912 5,897 5,813 5,599 5,350 28,571
Not banning knives 3,992 4,067 3,996 3,711 3,525 19,291
Not banning clubs 3,384 3,449 3,349 3,108 2,914 16,204
Not banning fists 2,479 2,608 2,480 2,233 2,113 11,913
Assuming "Other weapons" are type of weapon not banned 1,521 1,468 1,475 1,234 1,218 6,916
Not banning poison, explosives, fire, etc. 1,105 1,035 1,026 903 860 4,929
Not banning shotguns 583 545 569 461 442 2,600
Congratulations, you are this effective: 3.9% 3.6% 3.8% 3.2% 3.2% 3.6%

FBI: More People Killed with Hammers, Clubs Each Year than Rifles on Breitbart by AWR HAWKINS on 3 Jan 2013

who is the terrorist? - blog repost

Beck's representative did not immediately confirm the report, though Beck's own website has posted on the news and he has promised to address "the full story" on his radio program today.
In explaining the reasons for selling to al-Jazeera, Current co-founder and CEO Joel Hyatt told the Journal that the Qatari-based broadcaster "was founded with the same goals we had for Current," including "to give voice to those whose voices are not typically heard" and "to speak truth to power."
Those familiar with al-Jazeera English know that it is a straight-forward, hard-hitting, and thorough news-gathering channel. But critics on the right will no doubt find irony in the fact that Current, which was co-founded by climate change advocate Al Gore, agreed to be bought out by a broadcaster owned the Qatari government, and therefore funded by oil.
Those critics will also find irony in the fact that Gore and Current wanted to close the deal before Dec. 31, in order to avoide the higher tax rates that were to take effect on Jan. 1 -- a detail flagged by Brian Stelter, who broke the news about al-Jazeera's bid. (The deal was not signed until Jan. 2.)
Beck will likely have a field day with this, not least because al-Jazeera once ran an op-ed comparing him to a terrorist.

Glenn Beck tried to buy Current TV - by DYLAN BYERS @ Politico | 1/3/13 9:27 AM EST