Skyline

Before he goes, I hug F; he says, "Good luck to you." We laugh, because what else can you do?

From the Pine Box to Queen Anne, I reckon I have a forty minute walk to process what I'm seeing: a hateful, racist, sexist ideologue is on the verge of becoming the leader of the free world. The collateral around this, though, twenty minutes in, is what hits hardest: the nation's legislative body will bow to kiss the ring. The limbs of the judicial  corpus will be amputated; replaced with a twisted arm here, a gangrenous leg there. The rot will linger for a decade, and more. I give a cigarette to a man rapping on a skateboard; a Hamilton to a homeless woman sobbing on the sidewalk. I see a couple locked in an embrace. Five blocks away, I look back, and they're still there, shoulders shaking. I flick a dozen cigarette butts into the gutter, because what can you do? It's tempting to assign blame, but what this is, is ancient and hungry and jealous, and names fail it.

You can't see the stars in the city. If you don't know the streets, you navigate by landmarks. I walk by the Amazon biospheres; in year or two, it'll be filled with greens, and tended to with blissful ignorance. The rest of us can look from the outside, at least. I walk by the Tesla dealer, gleaming chrome. Men in suits leave a bar, somehow laughing: they could go to Canada, one says. They could. And then there's the rest. The ones we can quantify, and the ones we can't. The losses that we can never know. The Space Needle is to the west. I follow it to the center of the city, my home.

Crazed billionaire Sheldon Adelson: Obama should fire a nuke at Iran, why not

“What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there? I want to show you something,’” Adelson said at Yeshiva University. “You pick up your cellphone, and you call somewhere in Nebraska, and you say, ‘okay, let it go.’ So there’s an atomic weapon goes over – ballistic missiles – in the middle of the desert that doesn’t hurt a soul.”

Dr. Strangelove? Is that you?

How the Video-Game Industry Already Lost Out in the Gun-Control Debate

Ian Bogost:

The actual use, function, or content of games never has a place in political discussions about games. Instead, games are cogs in someone’s favorite discourse machine. Not just negative ones like gun violence, but also apparently beneficial ones: a commitment to STEM education, a generic technological wherewithal, an empathy with the social practices younger voters, and so on. Whether for good or for ill, games become instruments in public debate rather than as mechanisms through which players can participate in a variety of activities—including reflecting on the very debates they now serve as puppets.

This is one of those things that’s so cynical, so profound and yet so obvious, that there has to be some truth behind it.

So while I think it’s encouraging that video games could have a place in the political discourse, I don’t think engaging in a gun control debate on the NRA’s terms is a good idea. At. All. For. Anyone. And like the article alludes to, by even dignifying the NRA’s with a rebuttal, the article, like this blog post, is allowing for the possibility that there is indeed a relationship between gun violence and video games.

So.

But the thing that always kind of gets me is that there’s a certain amount of gun fetishization in any first person shooter. There’s customization in basically all modern FPSs, so you can have your very own special piece, with the thing in the stock, even. And guns are satisfying in video games; countless hours are poured into the muzzle flash, the bangs, the ejecting brass—do video games still have ejecting brass?—to ensure that the mere act of firing a gun in a video game is fun—you don’t even have to hit anything!

And then you had shit last year with EA partnering with weapons dealers to promote their latest pile of a manshoot, and I mean, I just, I don’t even. What?

So, okay, maybe the NRA is on to something. The games industry likes guns. Guns cause violence. Solution: fewer guns.

Trayvon Martin and America's Gun Laws

Jill Lepore for The New Yorker:

One in three Americans knows someone who has been shot. As long as a candid discussion of guns is impossible, unfettered debate about the causes of violence is unimaginable. Gun-control advocates say the answer to gun violence is fewer guns. Gun-rights advocates say that the answer is more guns: things would have gone better, they suggest, if the faculty at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Chardon High School had been armed. That is the logic of the concealed-carry movement; that is how armed citizens have come to be patrolling the streets. That is not how civilians live. When carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense is understood not as a failure of civil society, to be mourned, but as an act of citizenship, to be vaunted, there is little civilian life left.

If nothing else, vote for net neutrality

There are some pretty good reasons to re-elect Barack Obama (even if he’s not perfect), but since you’re reading this on the Internet, I think Nilay Patel’s got a pretty relevant one:

And make no mistake, the broadband industry is doing everything in its power to subvert the existing rules and bring us ever closer to these worst-case hypotheticals: Comcast excuses its own Xbox video app from counting against its data caps, while Netflix rings up the meter. If you don’t have a Verizon phone, you can’t watch videos on NFL.com, since Verizon and the NFL have a deal in place that restricts access to other carriers. AT&T is forcing iPhone owners to upgrade to new, more expensive data plans in order to use FaceTime over cellular connections. The list goes on.

This is not some liberal fantasy nightmare—this is happening now.

In other news: Mitt Romney has a very tiny face.

Entitled to food

After Romney dribbled vomit all down his front yesterday, Squashed took a look at how much you have to work to "take personal responsibility" for your life:

How long a work day would you need to put in at a minimum wage job to pay federal income taxes? Because it’s Romney’s comment, let’s use his family profile. We’ll have two parents, one of whom works. And let’s limit it to two children rather than Romney’s five to avoid an unseemly number of exemptions.

Mitt Romney Bought a Trending Topic

I guess he’s trying to leverage that impactful boiled-ocean style blue sky solutioneering.[1][2]


  1. What the shit are “verticals” in this context? Goddamn, Twitter.  ↩

  2. Also, contrast with Barack Obama who posted a thread on Reddit. Not saying that both moves were not purely political/pandering/triply verified by interns (esp. with Obama’s Reddit thing). But it seems wholly appropriate that Obama would post on Reddit, while Romney would throw money at his screen.  ↩

Jason Alexander on gun control

In the wake of Friday’s tragedy, he tweets:

I believe there are evil forces at play in our government. But I call them corporatists. I call them absolutists. I call them the kind of ideologues from both sides, but mostly from the far right who swear allegiance to unelected officials that regardless of national need or global conditions, are never to levy a tax. That they are never to compromise or seek solutions with the other side.

The battle to entomb our nuclear remains

Matt Stroud writing for The Verge:

“This is really the complexity of siting a waste site,” she said. “Scientists on site are in a predictive mode. And what makes it more difficult is that you’re trying to predict health risks tens of thousands of years from now based often on whether or not there might be a collective memory in the future that nuclear waste is buried in this spot.”

Nuclear waste, danger, important, whatever. It’s that last bit that I find fascinating—how do you make people in the future remember where a nuclear waste disposal site is located? And how do you warn them not to dig it up? A decade is easy enough. But a hundred years? A thousand? Ten thousand?

Anderson Cooper: Awesome or Really Awesome?

Anderson Cooper:

I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.

As he is a professional badass, I think this is tremendous.