Friday, March 23, 2018

Friday Posts Dump, 3/23/18:: On Bolton, Guns, Guns, Katsuko Saruhashi and Angry Birds

1.  When will I ever learn to unthinkingly put the month before the day in giving the date?  Early childhood education imprints our brains very very deeply.  I still cross my sevens, too.  The point could be that fighting beliefs we accrue at an early age might be extremely difficult in politics, too.

2.  So the Mustache of Death,  John Bolton, is back in power.  He loves war.  He is a warmonger who sells war the same way an ironmonger sells iron. Which means that you should fasten your seat belts.  We are in for some turbulence, which Trump, of course, will love.  It will make him the most powerful of all warlords.

3.   Jaelynn Willey, the sixteen-year-old girl who was wounded in a school shooting in Maryland, was taken off life support and has died.   Time Magazine tells us that the seventeen-year-old boy who killed her was motivated by  — wait for it! — lovesickness:

Tuesday’s school shooting in southern Maryland that left the shooter dead and two students wounded increasingly appears to be the action of a lovesick teenager.

So lovesickness can kill.  That would be the message.  The other message is that if a guy really loves you then he just might kill you!

Normalizing something of that sort is extremely dangerous and extremely stupid.  If we are to search for the causes of school killings, carried out by young white men in the US, then entitlement might be  the one cause to focus on:  The belief that they are entitled to love, respect, and all the goodies others have not been taught to expect as almost-automatic rewards.  Though the abundance of weapons is the true proximal cause, check out 4chan and 8chan and similar sites to see how disappointed faith in automatic entitlement really operates.

4.  In Sacramento, an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, was shot dead by the police in his grandmother's backyard.  The police state that they took the cell phone in his hand for a gun and shot in self-defense.  So it goes.

This is yet another example of an unarmed black man being killed by the armed police. 

But it is extremely unlikely that the Trump administration will do anything about this or its root causes:  that being black means much higher odds of getting killed by the police while unarmed, other things being the same,  and that the police is now as militarized as the mass killers in school shootings.

5.  Katsuko Saruhashi would have turned 98 yesterday.  She was the first woman in Japan to receive a PhD in chemistry, in 1957. She developed more sensitive methods for measuring radioactive fallout.

I had never heard of her.

6.  These pictures of Finnish birds are wonderful.  One example, reflecting how I feel after having been under the weather (a mild flu?) for the last week:

I think the bird is Regulus Regulus.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Godbotherers Who Love Trump

That eighty percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump, the adulterous foul-mouthed bigot,  is one of those wonderful phenomena about religions: 

Faith is defined by those who hold it (people), saints in the Catholic Church are created by people, second-guessing whom their god might view as saintly.  Holy books are interpreted by people based on what they want god to declare.  That those books were collected over centuries, that their messages were filtered through many people with particular views and values, and that their messages are very clearly based on the time and place and the social mores of that time and place; all that is largely ignored.  That's because the insiders determine the answer to these questions, even when outsiders are forced to abide with their interpretations, and respect them.