[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2015-11-20

Superman says, “Lend a friendly hand!”

Filed under: Comics,Society — bblackmoor @ 13:17

Superman reminds some kids how Americans are supposed to act.

Superman reminds some kids how Americans are supposed to act.

A congressman’s comments regarding refugees

Filed under: Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 09:34

Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

Congressman (R): “Our veterans should come first! As long as one veteran is sick, homeless, or hungry, it would be an affront to them to take in any refugees! That’s why I voted to keep them out.”

Interviewer: “So you are a strong supporter of veterans?”

Congressman (R): “What? Fuck no! Those leeches can starve for all I care. They should have died in the sand like they were supposed to. I have voted five times to defund them. You’d think they’d take the hint.”

Interviewer: “So your argument for not helping refugees is because we don’t help veterans enough, and we don’t help veterans enough because of … you. So … you are the reason you don’t want to help refugees…?”

Congressman (R): “Eh. Whatever keeps my constituents happy.”

Interviewer: “So voters want –”

Congressman (R): “What? Fuck no! Those morons will vote for a turd if you call it a Big Mac. I’m talking about my superpac. Great buncha guys. We’re going to Cabo next weekend. You should come. We’re getting some Ukrainian hookers. Those girls will do anything. Well, they have to. (laughs)

Thursday, 2015-11-19

Stranger Danger

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 13:09

You are three times more likely to be killed by an acquaintance than by a stranger

You are three times more likely to be killed by an acquaintance than by a stranger.

Wednesday, 2015-11-18


Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 21:28

I find it disappointing to learn how many otherwise reasonable people are willing to say unkind things about people they do not know: i.e., southerners, gun owners, Muslims…

Prejudice and irrational fear make a poor basis for public policy.

Saturday, 2015-11-14

Empty gestures

Filed under: Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 10:41

I am puzzled by people who think an appropriate response to tragedy and senseless bloodshed is to take photos of themselves holding rifles. Are they saying, “If only I had been there, I could have helped”?

Maybe they could have. Or maybe the terrorists would simply have moved to an easier target. Or maybe it’s fatuous self-aggrandizement from someone who is in no danger whatsoever.

dipshit in living room with firearms

dipshit in living room with firearms

Make no mistake: I think having the right to arm oneself and defend one’s life is a basic human right. I think it is the basic human right. But it’s easy to be bold and brave when the threat is on the other side of the world, just as it’s easy to shout your grievances in the safety of a university courtyard.

I am no more impressed by impotent bluster than I am by impotent prayers. Less so, actually: at least the prayers indicate compassion, and some basic human decency at work. Infantile tantrums and smug declarations from the safety of one’s couch… I can think of no emptier gesture.

But I prefer empty gestures to the inevitable alternative.

What is our solution? Do we decide that maybe religions are just too dangerous for protection under our First Amendment? Is the mere fact that someone self-identifies as Muslim tantamount to shouting “fire” in a movie theatre? Will the same people who spread absurd stories of FEMA prison camps urge us to deport or inter Muslims? Would putting a soldier in riot gear on every streetcorner and demanding papers at random police stops make us all feel safer?

To paraphrase John Lennon, I see no solutions: only problems.

P.S. 92 people died on America’s freeways yesterday (and will again tomorrow). The day before that, at least 41 innocent people were killed by suicide bombers in a suburb in Lebanon. Not all tragedies make headlines.

P.P.S. People who have no compunction about about blaming everyone with a rebel flag for the actions of a single psychopath are much more reasonable when it comes to blaming all members of a religion for the actions of a few. People who complain the most about unconstitutional expansions of government power seem to really like the idea of rounding up and deporting people based on their religion. I find this hypocrisy interesting.

Sunday, 2015-11-08

On the era of the eternally aggrieved

Filed under: Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 00:41


From time to time, my more conservative friends (who tend to be my older friends) express disappointment at the era of perpetual outrage that we appear to be living in. And, nearly as often, my more liberal friends (who also tend to be my younger friends) express the opinion that this era of “political correctness” is nothing of the sort: it is merely an indication that the offhand sexism, racism, and general obnoxiousness that used to be taken as simply the way things are is no longer tolerated, and that people are offended because they should be offended.

For myself, I think both of these groups are right.

It is obvious to anyone who has been an adult since the 1980s that what was once acceptable (but never should have been) has become less so, and that we should all be glad of that. Most of the attention in this area is directed at ethnic minorities, but personally I think the shameful treatment of women is the most significant barometer here, partly because woman are more or less half of the human race, and also because women are still subjected to ridiculous insults and misogynistic bile to this day. We have a way to go before this issue is behind us.

On the other hand, it should also be clear to anyone paying attention that we are in an era where “being offended” seems to trump actual fact to many people (particularly young, spoiled people). When a university as prestigious as Yale has nearly a thousand students calling for the resignation of an administrator because his wife had the temerity to suggest that free speech might actually be more important than obeying a dictate from the school’s administration regarding acceptable Halloween costumes, something has gone terribly wrong. How did these young people survive into their late teens with such a sense of unjustified entitlement? And why is it tolerated at Yale? I have no response to that, but it makes me sad.

So… yes, to some extent, the era of the eternally aggrieved has some basis in actual grievances. But not every complaint is valid.

Friday, 2015-10-30

Does the USPS “lose billions”?

Filed under: History,Politics — bblackmoor @ 09:52

super mailman

Fun fact! The US Post Office is one of the very, very few parts of our federal government that is authorized by our Constitution:

“The Congress shall have Power […] To establish Post Offices and post Roads;”
— US Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 7

(That same clause authorizes what we today call the US Interstate Highway System.)

As for the USPS losing money, it does and it doesn’t. It routinely makes more than it spends on actual operating costs. The “losing billions” that people sometimes refer to pertains to payments made into a fund for employees’ future retirement for the next 75 years. These payments are the result of a 2006 law passed by Congress, and it’s a requirement that is imposed on no other public or private institution.

But when you see people talk about the Post Office “losing billions”, that’s what they are talking about: failure to pay into a fund for the future health and retirement benefits for people who are not yet born.

If I were conspiratorially minded, I would think that this unique requirement was imposed on the USPS specifically to drive it out of business, by the same people who today call for its privatization because it “loses billions”. But that’s just crazy, right?

Wednesday, 2015-10-07

Misfits, Gotham, Agents Of Shield, Heroes Reborn, Powers

Filed under: Television — bblackmoor @ 17:53
Misfits Season 1 Blu-ray

I’ve reached the end of Misfits (eight seasons on Netflix, but there’s only eight episodes per season). While it’s a bit uneven, and sometimes it takes some effort to care about the characters, I like it so much more than the current seasons of Gotham, Agents of Shield, and Heroes Reborn.

The thing that irks me most about Heroes Reborn, and why I won’t be watching it anymore, is the tiresome “there’s no time!”/”it’s too dangerous!” enforced secrecy, without which the whole plot would collapse like a punctured bouncy house. If the main characters just had a five minute conversation, they could save us all the trouble of sitting through a dozen episodes of nothing. But no: there’s no time/it’s too dangerous! “No time” is right: life is too short to watch an exercise in padding.

Agents of Shield is just boring. I don’t care about the characters, don’t care about their mission, the plots are dull, the villains are dull, the outfits are dull, yawn, goodbye.

And Gotham… I liked the first season of Gotham, but FFS, I get it: the red-headed kid is the Joker. Except he’s not, because the Joker won’t show up for another 10-15 years (after Batman does), and when he does, whoever he used to be is a huge mystery, so he can’t be some famous over-the-top psycho from when Bruce Wayne was a kid. Seriously, he’s way over-the-top. Jim Carrey in The Mask is looking at this guy and going, “Whoa, dude: dial it back a notch.”

I hope Powers comes back for another season. The first season was slow, the production values are… frugal, and Eddie Izzard’s character will probably not return (he was the shining beacon of the first season), but I would still like to see where it goes from where the first season left off.

The noise and haste

Filed under: Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 11:35

There should be a name for the phenomenon of, “I’m right to believe this even if the reasons I state for believing it are false”. I see it all the time. Guns. GMOs. Black pets around Halloween. Being offended at someone’s costume. No matter how portentous or trivial the topic, facts just don’t seem relevant. It’s not a “liberal” vs “conservative” thing, either: it’s universal.

But it’s easier to block people who spew nonsense than argue with them. It’s not like an argument on the Internet ever changed anyone’s mind, anyway.

Friday, 2015-10-02

A brief review of the facts related to violent crime in the USA

Filed under: Firearms,Society — bblackmoor @ 16:20

A brief summary, which is all that I intend to say on the matter for the foreseeable future:

Should we provide greater support for the mentally ill? Yes.
Would it make a significant difference in violent crime? No.
Are gun owners without criminal records a danger to society? No.
Are the mentally ill a danger to society? No.
Does the USA have the highest intentional homicide rate among “developed countries”? No.
Is the rate of intentional homicide in the USA higher now than ever? No.

Is intentional homicide tragic? Yes.

Do I wish there was less of it? Yes.

Can we wave a magic wand and make it go away? No.

P.S. As a student of criminology, it vexes me terribly when people trot out the same old banners any time a tragedy makes the news (lately, I just look away until the shouting is over). This article by Mark Manson makes some excellent points that I am usually not patient or calm enough to make.

I have no idea who Mark Manson is. I hope I won’t be embarrassed by linking to his blog.

P.P.S. Reading pro-gun people and anti-gun people argue is like listening to a flat-earther argue with a creationist.

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