SocraticGadfly: 5/26/13 - 6/2/13

June 01, 2013

How to get your free lifetime #NRA membership

Want a free lifetime membership to the National Rifle Association? (Or Nazi Redneck A**holes, or however else some people may abbreviate it?)

Well, you can do what this 8-year-old did: shape a Pop-Tart into a gun-like shape, then bring it to school and get suspended. (Oh, and as part of being a good junior NRAer, like the kid, be sure to lie about what you've been doing.)

That said, this made me think of other ways for me, as an adult, to save $550 and get this free life membership.

If I pointed a real gun, loaded with real bullets, at Wayne LaPierre, would I get the free lifetime NRA membership? And, should I start a Kickstarter drive to go my bail, in case I ponder this more?

Or, since the the NRA held its most recent convention in Texas, a concealed carry state, shouldn't I have gotten a free lifetime NRA membership for packing a couple of Glocks into the convention under a suit coat, if I had done so?

Or will sending ricin-laden threatening letters to either New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg or President Barack Obama do the trick?

It would be nice if the NRA would tell we, the people exactly what special acts will get us those free lifetime memberships.

And, if not free memberships, maybe coupons and discounts?

"Carry a gun to your son's Little League game, and submit photo proof with this coupon, and get half off your NRA lifetime membership fee."

"Give your daughter a gun to take to show-and-tell day at school. Submit note from her teacher with this coupon, and get half off your NRA lifetime membership fee."

Now, the actual story. Should a kid then 7, now 8, have been suspended over this?

I am agreed that the suspension probably is dumb. Agreed that zero tolerance ideas can be dumb, and that there's far dumber ones than this. That said, post-Boston bombing (and all its hysteria), and post-Newtown shooting, if the parents knew, there's simply no excuse. Zero tolerance may be dumb, but it is what is is, and post-Newtown, parents simply have to know it My other thought is make the parents go to school with the kid for two days. So, short of forcing parents to go to school with their kids, the suspension isn't ideal, but it's not something from hell, either. Sadly, per this paragraph, it's in part about trying to punish the parents via the kid. If making parents sit in a classroom isn't doable, why not fine them or something?

And, this applies to no-tolerance rules in general. They're ultimately targeting the parents, via the children. I'm all for better ways of targeting the parents, that put children less in the line of fire. And, when that's done, I'm in favor of making sure the targeting does not get selectively pointed at poor or minorities.

But, this blog post is mainly about attacking the NRA, and a state legislator for being such an NRA gun nut as to so blatantly politicize this issue. Let's focus on that.

May 30, 2013

Do you really want to work for People Newspapers in Dallas?

Creative help wanted ad in the newspaper biz, or a ME who's stuck on himself? Could be some of both, but you rookie reporters, beyond doing the research for the application, I'd also research WHY somebody left this guy a profane voicemail. Here's the ad:
People Newspapers, an affiliate of D Magazine, is looking for a reporter to join its team covering Dallas' most affluent neighborhoods. This is a great opportunity for a recent college graduate or a rookie reporter who's itching to move up to the big city. Prove your reporting chops to managing editor Dan Koller by telling him in your cover letter where he went to high school, what TV show he once appeared on, and the name of the maniac who recently left him a profane voicemail. Your cover letter should be written in the body of an email sent to Your resume should be attached as a Word document, and your three best clips should be attached as PDFs. If you can't follow these simple instructions, you will have taken yourself out of the running.
Teh Google tells me the profane voicemail was not at all deserved. But, that's besides the point.

And teh Google also tells me that, two weeks ago, Koller was listed as a reporter at D Mag, not ME at People Newspapers. So, rookie would-be reporters, you're working for somebody new.

As for high school, who cares? But it probably was Highland Park. And, hellz yes, teh Google tells me I'm right. Lucky guess? No. Having lived in Dallas long enough, and already having a feeling about this guy, it was a well-intuitioned guess.

So, we're batting 2-for-2 on snobby and stuck up on himself, even if the voicemail he got from Sheridan was undeserved.
And, the first two took about 30 secs of Google time. 

Three minutes didn't give me a hit on what TV gig he did, but I'm sure it's at least as self-centered as the first two. The whole announcement drips with a fine drizzle of condescension.

Anyway, he was AME at People Snoozepapers before going to D. So, he won't be totally new.

That said, he will be new to a new level of power, authority and control, and stuck on himself. And, that AME title at People didn't mean a whole lot, I'm venturing, based on my own experience in suburban weekly newspaper groups. And, I'm venturing you'll be underpaid at People, compared to the $$$ of the most affluent neighborhoods" you'll cover.

Maybe you can commute from ... Cowtown!!!

So, "rooks," here's your real research.

Find out why the previous ME left People Newspapers.

Find out why Koller was hired as the replacement.

Find out why he's so stuck on himself. (Other than him being bred and born in Highland Park.)

#PopEvPsych has another fail - sex and sexuality differences

It's one of the biggest "commonplaces" of Pop Evolutionary Psychology, and somewhat of more restrained "legitimate" (I reserve the right for the scare quotes) evolutionary psychology that men are from Mars and women are from Venus in terms of sexual desire, sexual drive levels, and, above all, sexual roving eyes and interest in not being fully monogamous.

Taint quite so, says research around new studies trying to finally find a "female Viagra" or equavalent. Most of the women in most of the studies, it seems, haven't lost their Jones because of kids at home, housework, or whatever. Rather, familiarity has bred, if not contempt, ennui.

And, indeed, if I were into the "just so stories" of Pop Ev Psych, I could easily make up one to explain this, that has at least as much actual scientific grounding as do most those of Pop Ev Psychers.

First, we know that, in some mammalian species, the female of the species can do more than prevent immediate womb implantation of a fertilized embryo. She can delay immediate fertilization of an egg cell by sperm inside her uterus.

Why? Why do this?

Because a better male, evolutionarily speaking, may come along.

Well, there's no proof that human females do that. But, given that in the hunter-gatherer times of the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness so beloved by "legit" ev psychers and Pop Ev Psych types alike (despite somewhat shaky scientific grounding), a child would be nursed until age 3, in part as a contraceptive, but that, in part because of that and in part because of the simplicity of life there, said child was ready to do a certain amount of work by age 5, why WOULDN'T women have the seven-year-itch after four years?

Further confirmation of how Pop Ev Psych is wrong?  Women lie as much as men about how much sex they have. They just underreport, rather than overreport.

May 29, 2013

Carry on my Wayward Prez

Having read Obama's "drone war lite" speech last week, followed by Glenn Greenwald and others ripping it, and Obamiac true believers to shreds, as I blogged here, the creative writing bulb went off in my head, and I started riffing on the rock group Kansas' classic "Carry on My Wayward Son."

Here you go:

Carry on my wayward prez
There’ll be peace when they are dead
Set your skyward drones to flight
Moralize no more

Once he hid behind the noise and confusion
Transparency became his illusion
He was soaring ever higher
But he soared too high

Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I'm dreaming
I hear O-BA-MA


Masquerading as a man with a reason
His charade is the event of the season
And if he claims to be a wise man, well
It surely means that he don't know

On a frothy sea of moving emotion
Praised by Obamiacs without a notion
He sets a course of windy distortion
As voices say O-BA-MA


Carry on, and always pontificate
Carry on, nothing but equivocate
Constitutional scholar-priest
Sweet legacy waits for you

Carry on my wayward prez
There’ll be peace when they are dead
Set your skyward drones to flight
Don’t you fret — Moralize no more

(And, when we found out that four American citizens have been killed by drones despite not being tried as civilians nor being part of an official enemy army, I riffed on "Four Dead in Ohio.")

May 27, 2013

Yes, who started Memorial Day matters

Union soldiers killed at Gettysburg. Getty Images via New York Times
At a recent Memorial Day event, I heard one of the speakers first try to claim that Memorial Day was started in the South, not the North, and that, second, it doesn't matter anyway.

Partially wrong on No. 1, definitely wrong on No. 2.

Yes, women both North and South were decorating the graves of soldiers from previous wars before Memorial Day, per Wikipedia.

But, also per Wikipedia, the non-Monday Holiday original date of May 30 was proposed by Union veteran John Logan, president of the Grand Army of the Republic, in 1968, specifically as "Decoration Day." And, that's how Memorial Day started.

The fact that it was for Civil War dead, and more specifically, for Union Civil War dead, is also important. It's doubly important in our lifetimes.

That's because, ever since the election to the presidency of Richard Nixon in 1968, based on part on Kevin Phillips' "Southern strategy," the South, which appeared to have culturally won the Civil War by the time of Plessy vs. Ferguson, only to have the clock pushed forward again by the civil rights movement, has been at least partially winning a number of battles again.

Those are mainly battles over the power and range of the federal government, and they've had a massive resurgence with the tea party movement, and calls for things like nullification. The movement has also shown us that the racism which fueled the South's attachment to its "peculiar institution," wasn't publicly, let alone privately, wiped out by the civil rights movement.

Related to that, this is why the issue of American forts still being named after Confederate Civil War generals matters. No, none were ever prosecuted for it, but by the Constitutional definition, they were all traitors. There's no other word for it.

So, eff the gun nut and related cultures that run strong in the South. This column is totally right. It's time to rename, among others, Fort Hood here in Texas, named after John Bell Hood. It's time to rename Fort Lee and Fort A.P. Hill. Period.

And, it's also time to remember the Robert E. Lee was first offered the leadership of the Ku Klux Klan. He turned it down, and it went to Nathan Bedford Forrest. There's no indication, though, that he disagreed with its general work or ideals.

Will Tricky Ricky Perry challenge Big John Cornyn?

As the regular (or irregular?) session of the Texas Legislature moves toward sine die, and political watchers in the state wonder if Gov. Rick Perry will call a special session, and when he will have it convene if he does, and what will be on its agenda if he does, they also know that this issue relates to something else: his plans for his political future.

By no later than midsummer, most political touts are expecting Gov. Helmethair to announce whether or not he's running for re-election in 2014, and whether or not he's considering another presidential run in 2016.

There is option No. 3: Running in 2014, but not for governor.

I know it sounds like a bit of a longshot, but, it's not out of the realm of probability, I think, for Perry to run against John Cornyn in 2014. The wingnut world thinks Big John is vulnerable in Texas, especially with the ascension of Ted Cruz. And, Perry still thinks he has enough of an "in" with those folks that he could be tempted.

On the national stage, he came off in 2012 as sounding like the Sarah Palin of Texas. Well, he's smarter than her, but, still, there is a fair degree of parallels. Closer yet are the parallels between him and Jan Brewer.

Cornyn's seat would give him a more national platform, and a chance to run in 2020 for the head cheeseship, or 2024 if he passes in 2020.

I would be surprised if he did take this particular plunge. But, I wouldn't be totally surprised.

Stay tuned to see what may happen in a potential special session.