Archive | Op-Ed

Why I Quit the NRA

Over at Time, Stan Stumbo, a retired Navy commander and marine engineer, writes about why he left the NRA.

via Time:

The organization is being irresponsible in addressing gun safety

I was a member of the National Rifle Association for more than 50 years. In 2012, I decided not to renew my membership.

But I strongly believe that being a responsible gun owner means supporting sensible laws to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people. This belief was cemented by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. The shooting in Oregon last week was another tragic reminder.

I feel that four things can help prevent such tragedies in the future. Requiring background checks on the state and federal level is the sensible first step. In addition, there should be penalties for officials of city, state and county governments who fail to enter people’s names in the database when they’re judged to be mentally ill, or a danger to themselves or others, or have convictions that would make them no longer eligible to own firearms.

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The Case for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

CCDay– Eric Scott Pickard is an artist, activist, poet and writer. He is a Co-Founder of media collective Free Radical Media and a co-host of the Free Radical Media podcast, available via YouTube and Itunes

On 12 October of 1492, Cristobal Colon, known as Christopher Columbus, having made landfall on the island of Hispaniola, first encountered the native peoples of the Americas. Columbus was certainly not the first European to visit the Americas, and and perhaps not even the first visitor from the Old World, to visit North and South America since the closing of the land bridge in ancient times. He was, however, the man who opened the door in modern times to vast new lands, full of new plants, animals, and people, and the effect of 12 October, 1492 on the Americas cannot be understated.

The narrative in Western, and especially American history books is mostly one of vague allusions and rhetoric: a story of exploration, strangers in a strange land, a journey fraught with danger, leading to the discovery of a whole “New World”.… Read the rest

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The Godly Colonel Kurtz



I’m cruising east up Market, away from downtown. It’s just me and Citizen’s Cab #137 fishing for fares, as we cross the brink into the Loin…

There’s a dude flagging me up at the corner of 7th, at a red.

Olive skinned with broad shoulders, in his mid 30s, my potential fare is semi-buff and sports an expensive black leather motorcycle jacket unzipped over a Hawaiian print shirt unbuttoned low enough to boast two highly-toned pectorals. Dude’s neck is ringed by a white coral choker framed by semi-greasy dark, wavy shoulder length locks that are pinned back from his face by a pair of wrap-around sunglasses sitting perched atop his head. He is semi-good looking, despite the badly faded navy blue shorts and worn white tennis shoes.

Dude’s casual.

Why not?

I pull over.

But before entering my taxi, my passenger bends humbly into my shotgun window to verify that I am actually agreeing to pick him up.… Read the rest

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Guns, Trump and Mental Illness


Ben Debney writes at CounterPunch:

One of the few people to shamelessly state his true feelings about the recent Oregon school shootings was GOP front-runner Donald Trump, whose comments on MSNBC were not widely circulated beyond that forum for reasons that do not warrant sustained reflection.[1] They did however surface on at least on website, where they were reported in detail.[2]

In this instance we should be grateful that Donald Trump says openly what a lot of people say in private, and those who have to bear the brunt of the stigma against past and present sufferers of mental illness actually have an opportunity to respond directly.

According to the Newsmax website, Trump had said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program that there were ‘already strong laws on the books where firearms are concerned’, but that ‘you’re always going to have problems’ on account of the fact that ‘we have millions of sick people all over the world.’

Since there were ‘millions of sick people all over the world,’ as Trump put it, the Oregon shootings were nothing special.

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Time to Abolish Columbus Day

From the very beginning, Columbus was not on a mission of discovery but of conquest and exploitation. It is time to abolish the holiday commemorating his accomplishments. (Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison)

From the very beginning, Columbus was not on a mission of discovery but of conquest and exploitation. It is time to abolish the holiday commemorating his accomplishments. (Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Bill Bigelow’s articles here.

Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop.

Columbus initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in early February 1494, first sending several dozen enslaved Taínos to Spain. Columbus described those he enslaved as “well made and of very good intelligence,” and recommended to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that taxing slave shipments could help pay for supplies needed in the Indies. A year later, Columbus intensified his efforts to enslave Indigenous people in the Caribbean. He ordered 1,600 Taínos rounded up—people whom Columbus had earlier described as “so full of love and without greed”—and had 550 of the “best males and females,” according to one witness, Michele de Cuneo, chained and sent as slaves to Spain.… Read the rest

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A Cute Political Theory

I woke up with cable this morning, in a hotel room, with a few free hours before work. I haven’t had cable in a while. This, coupled with the absence of clothing and the abundance of toy commercials aired during cartoons, led me to form a completely unremarkable political theory.


There wasn’t anything on any of the seven Showtime channels. I found my way to Cartoon Network. I was content letting my mind wander to animation, but then the commercials started, and didn’t stop. Toys, toys, toys. A plastic Mario on a ‘hovering’ plastic car. Another toy commercial, for a creepy mask and Spiderman web shooters. Two for the girls: fluorescent comb-able plastic ponies and collectible princess dolls.

While their parents are sleeping, reluctant to let go of the tasteless bliss of dreamless sleep and return to the land of dental plaque and insurance premiums, children are bombarded by footage of euphoric children intercut with the faces of facsimile animals and their favorite cartoon pals.… Read the rest

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VW Emissions Cheat Increases Overall NOx Emissions Quite Negligibly


VW made a brazen move after it realized in 2008 that its small diesel engine could not realistically meet pollution standards in the United States as well as consumer expectation for performance and fuel economy. Someone in the company came up with the idea to design the computer software to only turn on the pollution controls (that greatly reduce engine power) when the front wheels are moving but the back wheels are stationary, cheating a typical emissions test that takes place on a dyno. Other car companies were baffled as to how VW was accomplishing these emission standards. Mazda and Honda for example had not exported their diesel engines to the United States because they were incapable of profitably meeting the emissions standards. Many consumer diesel engine,s for example BMW, meet the standards by actually using a reservoir of urea to reduce engine emissions of NOx gasses at substantial expense to the cost of the car.… Read the rest

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How Sacred Science Addresses What Modern Physics Ignores

Tom Bunzel via Collective Evolution:

In a recent attempt to understand how conventional physics “explains” reality, I began to read Lawrence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing

Krauss is one of those famous scientists like Richard Dawkins who doesn’t find anything strange about the fact that existence IS.

Instead he takes EVERYTHING for granted and attacks, like Dawkins and Bill Maher, the low hanging fruit of organized religion and its dogmatic, unproven Gods created in our image.

When I tried reading his book I got a bit frustrated and then checked the index for the word “consciousness,” and when I did not find it, I put the book aside.

The question really is – “what” exactly is “nothing.”

First and foremost it is a concept.  Nothing does not exist.  What exists is, well, everything.

Nothing is the word or placeholder we use for null – similar to zero in math – but in both cases (words and math) they are human abstractions or interpretations of Nature. 

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Driving Ms. Parks

first world homeless

1st world def

I took some days off, for the soul… to “think”.

Each time my kid came home from school to find me on the couch staring into space, he gave me crap, “Dad! You didn’t work, again?!”

I told him, “Son, I’ve been thinking. I’ve been thinking a lot. And you know what? Nothing is wrong right now. Absolutely NOTHING.”

So, it’s Friday morning. And I am now going into work, to drive a cab… in complete peace, come what may. (OM, baby.)


Heading out of the lot of ‘ol Citizen’s Cab in 137 – my trusty Prius, the headlights catch that feral, orange tabby lot cat frozen, er… like a deer. It would seem she is now spoiled after gorging on all the late night BBQ pitched from the recurring congregations of chatty drivers, and the likes of me occasionally tossing her half my lunch. Well not today, Sheba!… Read the rest

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