The Lolife Podcast No. 79: Repeal the 2nd Amendment

In the wake of the Orlando mass murder, a crime enabled by the murderer’s legal purchase of an AR-15, high-capacity clips and ammunition, we would be idiotic not to debate what we should do, as a nation, to prevent future mass murders with guns.

In this podcast I explore the idea that the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution is no longer relevant and in fact creates a fictional rallying cry for people who think that guns offer protection. In fact, guns are a hazard that kill more people in the US than automobiles. The world of automobiles is highly regulated. The world of guns is less regulated than Sudafed™. This is due to a culture that ignores the realities of 21st century America and puts fictional hero scenarios above the reality that accidents, suicides and homicides are a thousand times more common than life-saving actions by armed citizenry.

A post-2nd Amendment world could still allow for hunters, target shooters, collectors and people who truly require personal protection to have guns. We would simply restrict gun ownership to people who demonstrate they are responsible, trained and have the aptitude and background to own, handle and store guns safely. We would only “take guns away” from people who cannot demonstrate these attributes. Law-abiding gun owners should have no problem with a highly regulated gun market and should agree with the goal of reducing the availability of guns to people without the training and aptitude we collectively require.

The notion that you can defend yourself against the US Government is demonstrably false. The notion that guns protect you is false. The people you love are the most likely victims of the gun you own, through accidents, suicide, domestic violence and homicide. The least likely thing your gun will do is protect you.

Can we put away the failed strategies of inaction and rhetoric? Let’s look at the facts and meaningfully address a senseless hazard made ubiquitous by a bankrupt ideology of the Old West.

Listen now: No. 79: Repeal the 2nd Amendment

More podcasts: The Lolife Podcast


The Lolife Podcast No. 79: Repeal the 2nd Amendment

Cooperation over competition

In another thread I am having a conversation with “carter”, who seems to be a smart and thoughtful person, and a fellow rocketeer, by the look of it. The following is a response to one of his comments that I felt deserved the spotlight of its own post, especially considering how rare I blog these days.

He said, among other things:

I’ll admit there is a sweet spot for taxation and regulation.

How should we figure out where the sweet spot is? This is perhaps my prime problem with the “small government” rhetoric of the Right. It would be lovely if we could set a certain policy, run the experiment and then rewind, use a different policy, run the experiment again, etc. and really truly find out the right amount of taxes and regulation to make for the strongest economy. We can’t do that.

So instead, like astronomers, we have to observe different experiments in action and then try to normalize them somehow and get our insights that way. What are the other experiments? They are the other countries that are also experimenting with varying degrees of taxes and regulations.

The odd part about this is that the US is an anomaly. There is no Westernized country more conservative than us. There are none with lower taxes. When you look at the other thriving economies of the world they all, every one of them, have more taxes and regulation.

The Right likes to point to this and say “See! We are on to something here in the USA! Less taxes and less regulation make for a stronger economy.” Unfortunately that is a statistically insignificant sample of one. There are a lot of other factors that have contributed to the strength of the American economy besides the conservatism of the last few decades.

So I’m glad we agree “there is a sweet spot for the level of taxes and regulation.” You think we have erred in one direction and me the other. I really try to imagine your view as correct. I do trust people to look after their own best interest. I do see how the government screws some things up.

The reason I end up disagreeing with you is this: homo sapiens rose above the bloody fray of survival of the fittest and started cooperating in larger and larger groups. While the law of the jungle certainly applies, a stronger “law” has led to the great success of our species: cooperation. We all do better when we all do better. I can’t escape this ideology and economists have been unable to prove me wrong. I think we should put our efforts into making government better (for we are the government, after all) rather than trying to dismantle it.

I have written elsewhere on this blog why I think progressive taxation is fair and smart. Moving from taxes to fees is regressive. For certain things, I think it is viable and useful. But our government is so more than a service provider.

I also agree that Amy’s child safety law had ridiculous unintended consequences.

Thanks for the great conversation.

Cooperation over competition

Geithner nails it

How short the memories of the electorate.

When the president took office, the American economy, the envy of the world, was falling off the cliff. Growth was declining at an annual rate of about 6 percent. We were losing three-quarters-of-a-million jobs every month. The American financial system was in freefall.

People were wondering whether they should keep their money in banks, whether they should buy treasuries, the first time since the Great Depression that happened. That was the reality when this president came into office. And there was no way out of that, except for the president, working with the Fed and the Congress, to go take aggressive, strong, bold actions to arrest the freefall and start the economy growing again. And that’s what he did, and that’s what’s happened.

From PBS.

Geithner nails it

A rejection of extremes

It is an amazing thing to watch your generation take over the world. The President of the United States is 4 years older than me. The positions of power in industry, government and culture are being occupied by people my age. It makes you think — what are our responsibilities to future generations. What are our responsibilities to ourselves? What will our legacy be?

My hope is that we get rid of these policies of extremes: zero tolerance, no negotiation, maximum return, lowest cost. We seem to value even ridiculous extremes at times.

With this is the rejection of false either-or’s. Conservative or liberal, the environment or industry, socialism or capitalism. These turn debate into contests instead of a process of discovering the truth. What if the government enacted (or repealed) some thing that made a big positive difference to everyone involved. Would you care which ideological category it belonged in? These bi-polar arguments are contrived and unproductive.

My hope is that our generation puts aside some of this pointless vitriol and tries to actually solve problems. Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic.

A rejection of extremes

The hysteria on the Right is manufactured

(This was going to be a comment on this post.)

What if, and I realize it is a big if, Obama’s health insurance reforms work. What if we all do measurably better under a cooperative approach legislated by the Democrats. Would conservatives be OK with it?

I deplore double-standards and I ask myself — what if we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that tax cuts for the rich, for example, was the best approach to raise the median standard of living. What if conservatives were right and tax rates are north of the sweet spot for the best return into the US Treasury. I would be DELIGHTED. What if the Bush approach to Iraq had succeeded in 6 months, like they hoped. DELIGHTED. My goal is not that the Left “wins”. My goal is that we get better at government so that we get the most bang for the buck on our shared interests such as national security, the economy, health care and education.

I’ve said this before, but some people think: the Left was mean to Bush so we can be as mean as we want to Obama. You have to remember that we were all hopeful for Bush in the early days. He ran on the compassionate conservative thing and I honestly hoped he’d be successful. He was immediately deeply partisan in every single thing he did. Many of us were shocked. Bush earned our hatred. He really did. He earned it day after day for 8 years.

It is completely possible that Obama justly earns people’s hatred. If he is highly unsuccessful in measurable ways like Bush was, he’ll have earned our disapproval. If he is highly political, highly partisan, shady, obtuse and, accordingly to some, criminal like Bush was, he’ll have earned our hate. But he hasn’t been any of these things. The jury is still out on most of his policies, but he has not been a bait and switch like Bush and he has been an honest broken on the issues. I realize that Left and Right disagree on the prescriptions but even fuckwits like Glen Beck should be able to see that Obama is a straight shooter.

The hysteria on the Right is manufactured and they’ve done so because “it worked” that we all hated Bush. Even the Right hated Bush by the end. But the ideologues are jumping the gun on Obama and they are losing their credibility as a result, except to the extent that they preach to their own little retarded choir.

But frankly, if Obama can’t do this job well, I am seriously worried for us. He is as smart and as well-informed as individual we have seen in that office. He is no raging liberal. I think the vitriol we are seeing 9 months into his term is unfounded.

The hysteria on the Right is manufactured

Micheal Olauson of Valley City is a fucking retard

I present as evidence:

Need to respond to Joe DeMasi’s letter in the Times-Record (“Obama on education: Superintendent should have stood up to bullies,” Monday).
We were some of the “objectioning” parents to our good dictator’s speech on Sept. 8. We are very glad that our school administrators had enough sense to recognize propaganda for what it is and not subject our children to it. Thank you, Mr. Koppelman and Mr. Denault, etc.
If the great “O” wasn’t on such a grandstand against everything our great nation and her people stand for, no one would have had an objection to this, but the “O” is out to have everyone bow to him as others in fascist Europe did a few decades ago.
Anyone who keeps tabs on the “O” and his minions watched the various versions of this speech morph over the course of days into what actually came down the airwaves on Sept. 8. It surely didn’t start out that way and that is where the objections came from! He had yearlong plans drafted to be used by teachers and administrators to use to track how the students from grades one through 12 could help Obama promote and reach his goals, which is totally against our democratic foundation!
If the great one wanted to do something like this, it should have been in the evening on live broadcast so parents could sit with children and dispel his myths as he was spewing them, and then our children could have watched his speech and gotten the real meanings from us, the parents, not some public school people who are by the very nature of public school funding going to slant toward the liberal socialist called “O.”
Not cool on his part or on the part of his goofy secretary of education, who had a hand in the whole thing. This president is a joke, but I hold the office in the highest regard, not the man. If this guy was credible, there would not have been 1 million people gathered in D.C. for the rally against his socialist policies and his leftist loonies that he brought with him to the city and the hill. Of course, you won’t find that reported in any mainstream media, and they try to discredit us as fringe when it is really they who are the fringe of the American culture.
No, Joe, we the people think our Valley City school administrators did the right thing and did not show this propaganda to a captive, impressionable audience with no parental supervision on what was coming over the airwaves.
Micheal Olauson
Valley City

What a fucktard. Jesus Christ, dude, just off yourself now and don’t pollute the gene pool further. You are an idiot of titanic proportions devoid of a single cogent thought. You are a racist, a moron and a traitor and I hope you die in a fire.

Micheal Olauson of Valley City is a fucking retard

Democrats, quit trying to legislate everything

It is well known that I find the Republican party detestable. Any party with the support of Coulter, Hannity, Limbaugh and Glen Beck will never get my support. So don’t get too excited, Righties.

But I am seriously getting bummed out with the inept notion that any problem has a legislative solution. It effects me most as a small business owner. New regulations popping up all the time to fix problems that have nothing to do with me or my business. Politicians are experts at taking a good intention and turning it into a bad law. The pandering to the electorate is sad and counter-productive. Listen to me, guys — the electorate are retards. They don’t have the slightest clue what the fuck is going on. They just want free stuff and they want no bad stuff to ever happen and if it ever does, god dammit, someone should do something about it.

I’ve said it many times before, but we have to get out of this 2 party system. The Republicans have the most fucked up agenda in history and the Democrats are trying to pass laws to prevent us from stubbing our toes. We do not have the time or the money to fuck around with all this stuff.

Obama, prioritize these people, keep them on track and get rid of the notion that the government has some extraordinary power to fix every problem. They don’t. The government should work on big issues that can’t be handled by the private sector. We can’t save children from every danger and we can’t have a thriving economy if you regulate us all because of 0.000001% of bad apples.

Get it together, mother fuckers. Focus.

Democrats, quit trying to legislate everything