How many guns do you own? Using data from the International Small Arms Survey, Max Fisher of the Washington Post reported that there are 270 million weapons in private hands in the United States, or about 9 for every 10 US citizens. In an informal survey, I asked a lot of my friends whether they owned guns, and they said “no.” Thus, there must be a lot of people who own more than one to balance out my social circle.
But, you know, there’s big money being made from guns and ammo. That’s a point that Bill Moyers makes in his editorial (print version; video version linked to accompanying image) that aired 4 January 2013 on his TV show. It’s a dandy of a commentary that includes a clip of Wayne LaPierre making that extraordinary statement about bad and good guys with guns, echoes of Archie Bunker, and a real-life gun dealer who quit selling guns. That’s why, as Mr. Moyers reports, the gun lobby suppresses discussion about sensible control of weapons. Watch the video of his editorial.
It’s just a marvelous day to remember that most of us, even we professors, are working stiffs. So, I was listening to some music that made me wiggle, shuffle, clench my teeth, stamp, say “arrgh,” and smile. Here are a few of those tunes with links to performances by certain artists (but there’ve been many others’ covers of these, too):
Businesses I can see doing business with: Certified B Corps.
Certified B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corps are unlike traditional businesses because they:
- Meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards;
- Meet higher legal accountability standards;
- Build business constituency for good business
Yikes! I ought to do some fact-checking on the data here, but these numbers are awe-inspiring.
In the 1990s or so I began using the Direct Marketing Association’s mechanism for opting out of direct mail. I only have case-study level data, but I can testify that we don’t get as much junk as this graphic indicates we would. We also don’t get as much as some of our friends say they get. I’ve used the DMA for some of my family and seen a substantial reduction in the junk they get, too.
Now, I’d like to see it apply to the horrible marketing I saw in the just-completed election campaign.
The image is linked. Thanks to Jay and Tim Willingham for another good one.
It does. It sez it righ’ cheer:
Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech….
—Amendement I of the U.S. Constitution, ratified 15 December 1791
And I have the good fortune of living in a community that has (since 2006) a monument dedicated to that very idea and (since 1819) a university founded on quite similar ideas:
“This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
—Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William Roscoe, 27 December 1820
I plan to run past geographical spots marking both these ideas this morning for my 4 July 2010 run: The TJ Center’s “Community Chalkboard” and the University of Virginia (where I have the privilege of working). Although I’ll celebrate other things during my run and later today (including the other clauses of the first amendment to the US Constitution, which are in the words surrounding those I’ve excerpted in the first extraction here), I’ll be especially grateful for this one. In an era when powerful financial forces have nearly free reign to amplify their political opinions, at least I still have the authority to speak my own.
Of course, I mostly speak my views in this nearly chaotic medium we call the Internet where people turn to learn lots of things, including misinformation. That’s the importance of the second excerpt. We, the people, just need to “follow truth,” that is, learn to winnow sense from nonsense. Free speech means that people are free to say things that simply are not true. And, I fear, we too often do not recognize that we are saying things that are not true (see my earlier post about Thomas Kida’s marvelous book, Don’t Believe Everything You Think), ’cause there’s a lot of nonsense on the Internet.
There is a blog at least loosely associated with Mr. Deity: Mr. Deity Fan.
Some time between the end of August and the beginning of September, my brother Bill died. I think about him very often, and it has been something about which I’d like to record my observations and opinions. However, I am reluctant to make all of those opinions and observations public. So, I have this compromise: I shall post a few reflections here, and keep the rest of my thoughts private with my family and friends. You’ll see my reflections as “Remembering Bill.”
Filed under Memo to me, News
The BBC has an audio feature entitled David Attenborough’s Life Stories in which David Attenborough reports about sundry natural history topics. I heard one on local radio about Komodo Dragons and found another on the Web about Archaeopteryx. As usual, Mr. Attenborough’s writing and speaking command attention. Fascinating stuff.
It appears that the BBC site only makes them avialable for a limited time. The page for the Archaeopteryx segment says “Available since Friday with 5 days left.” It’s not clear to which Friday the text refers, especially because it gives a date in late August. I couldn’t find one about the Komodo Dragon, though; he starts with references to a 16th-century author cataloging the types of dragons, not including the Komodo Dragon, and then proceeds to provide a many-minute long account of Komodo behavior (e.g., feeding) and biology (parthenogenesis).
Because it appears to me that the shows are not archived, I recommend repeated trips to the site to check on what’s available there. I need to construct an agent that will go download them for me periodically. Meanwhile, perhaps I shall create a calendar entry that reminds me to check.
O.K. I’ve enabled the ratings feature of WP. This is a very (underline, bold, italic) risky step for me. If both readers rate items as having one star…well, I’m in trouble.
Maybe I don’t want to know how happy people are with these posts. To rate a post, one must go to the page showing only that post, not the “front” page.