Some Accidents Are More Accidental Than Others

Law & order, Florida-style v.1:

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Police say a 2-year-old boy was killed after a Florida woman who was drunk crashed an SUV loaded with passengers.

The Florida Highway Patrol says 24-year-old Shameka Jones of Winter Haven drove her vehicle onto a shoulder in Manatee County on Saturday afternoon. The vehicle went airborne, overturned several times and struck several trees.

The accident killed Isaac Solomon of Winter Haven, who police said was not wearing a seatbelt or child restraint. Jones, two adult passengers and a 6-month-old boy were seriously injured. Seven other children suffered minor injuries.

Jones was charged with DUI manslaughter and other counts.

Law & order, Florida-style v.2:

On July 26, 2014, William DeHayes was showing off his gun collection to Carson Hoover and his wife, Katherine, when DeHayes’ antique revolver fired, fatally striking Katherine in the temple. At the time of the shooting, DeHayes—who had just taken opiates and a muscle relaxer—used a Western-style draw (“like a cowboy would” he told police) to unholster his grandfather’s hand-me-down firearm. DeHayes didn’t know that the 65-year-old gun—which had a history of misfiring—was loaded.

[…]

Despite the family’s pleas to try DeHayes for negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter, state attorney Brad King declined to press charges—stating that DeHayes’ “conduct, no matter how outrageous, does not constitute a crime.” In a letter denying Bryan’s case, King wrote that in Florida, an accidental discharge of a firearm that kills someone—even if it is the result of gross negligence—cannot be prosecuted.

Aside from the fact that Shameka Jones is African American and William DeHayes is white, what the hell is the difference between these two cases? One is a DUI, one is someone fooling around with a gun after taking drugs.

DeHayes says he feels terrible about what happened, he’s contemplated suicide, his life has been completely ruined, he’d “give my life to take it back,” he won’t go near guns anymore, blah blah blah. Yeah I’m pretty sure Shameka Jones feels the same way. As does every other idiot who does something stupid which results in the death of an innocent person. And no, I’m not saying Shameka Jones shouldn’t be prosecuted — she should. And so should William DeHayes. Because that’s how law and order works in this country.

Gun negligence needs to be prosecuted. Every time, every case. If “feeling really bad” about what happened isn’t punishment enough for any other crime, it shouldn’t be punishment enough for gun negligence. Get a fucking clue, people.

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Filed under Florida, gun control

Only In Nashville

Songwriter Gary Nicholson has written more hits for more superstars than most of today’s young whippersnappers could ever hope to write (you can check out his songwriting resume here). He also lives in my neighborhood, and last week showed up at a Metro Planning Commission meeting to voice opposition to a truly ridiculous subdivision that had been proposed — a teensy tiny lot big enough for a magnolia tree and some idiot wants to put a dang house on it. That’s such a Nashville thing these days. I like to say I pick up my dog poop on our daily walks because if I don’t some idiot developer will plant a 3-story condo on it.

Anyhoo, Nicholson voiced his opposition in song form, and it’s truly an “only in Nashville” moment:

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Filed under music, Nashville

Congratulations, Unidentified Texas Family! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Heroes Du Jour

Three-year-old Texas child finds gun in mom’s purse, shoots self in head, dies:

HOUSTON — A 3-year-old boy has died after accidentally shooting himself in the head in northwest Harris County Friday afternoon.

It happened just after 12:30 p.m. in the 7400 block of Betanna, according to the Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office.

The child was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital by Life Flight, but doctors couldn’t save him.

Investigators say the boy found the gun in a purse up on a shelf.

So much for our “safest, most responsible citizens evah:

Harris County Precinct 5 Captain Romeo Chapa tells us they believe the child’s parents have a concealed handgun permit […]

Don’t they teach you in those concealed-carry classes not to leave a loaded gun where a three-year-old can get his hands on it? Or are those classes mostly “long evenings of platitudes, Obama jokes, and belligerent posturing”? Just wondering how they do it in Texas.

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Filed under gun control

Good News Friday

Sorry I’m a bit late with this. A few little pieces of good news. Enjoy!

• The internet is saved!

• A Berkeley researcher working on another problem has accidentally found a cure for color blindness. This should help all of those people who see this dress as white and gold. It’s blue and black, people. Duh.

• The Democratic National Committee unanimously voted to adopt a resolution calling for a “Right-to-Vote” Amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution.

• Still more economic good news, this time it’s growth in GDP.

• The Dept. of Justice admits it has been misinterpreting the “derivative citizenship” statutes of U.S. immigration law since 2008, leading to the improper deportation of U.S. citizens.

• Obama vetoed the Keystone pipeline bill.

The era of processed junk food is over.

• Morgan Stanley will pay $2.6 billion for its role in the 2008 global financial meltdown. Not nearly enough … not nearly enough. But it’s something.

• Virginia has agreed to compensate the remaining victims of its forced sterilization program.

• This:

Seven medical specialty societies, the American Bar Assn. and the American Public Health Assn. on Monday joined forces to declare gun-related injuries, which annually kill an average of 32,000 Americans and harm nearly twice that number, “a public health crisis” that should be studied and solved “free of political influence or restriction.”

Duh. But it wasn’t too long ago that these groups would have been too scared and intimidated by the NRA shouters and screamers to even dream of supporting such a logical idea.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Though built in the early ’70s, it was recognized as a cultural resource. The Ryman Auditorium, which has long been associated with the Grand Ole Opry, was recognized in 2001.

• Despite losing to the Minnesota Wild last night, my beloved Nashville Predators are the top team in the NHL. In the whole friggin’ National Hockey League, you guys! This has been such a long time coming. We are playoff-bound, and I smell a Stanley Cup!

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Congratulations, Unidentified KY Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

From the annals of “safest, most responsible evah:

Police concluded the man accidentally discharged his gun inside his car when the gun shifted between the driver’s seat and the console. The man reached for the gun and unintentionally fired it while reaching, Grimsley said.

His name was not released.

The man was not cited. He was was treated at Greenview and released.

Of course the man wasn’t cited. That would be wrong. And it might undermine the myth of the safe, responsible gun owner. And we certainly can’t have that.

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No, But His IQ Test Was Conducted During His Proctology Exam

Cheese and rice, people:

BOISE, IDAHO — An Idaho lawmaker received a brief lesson on female anatomy after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam.

The question Monday from Republican state Rep. Vito Barbieri came as the House State Affairs Committee heard nearly three hours of testimony on a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine.

Barbieri later said that the question was rhetorical and intended to make a point.

Dr. Julie Madsen, a physician who said she has provided various telemedicine services in Idaho, was testifying in opposition to the bill. She said some colonoscopy patients may swallow a small device to give doctors a closer look at parts of their colon.

“Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?” Barbieri asked.

Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.

“Fascinating. That makes sense,” Barbieri said, amid the crowd’s laughter.

Here’s a thought. Before you idiots in the Republican Party try legislating women’s bodies, why don’t you first learn something about them? Or is that too much like work?

Okay, he now says he was trying to get the doctor to testify that colonoscopies aren’t the same as abortions or whatever. I would think that would be patently obvious, but of course you’re dealing with a Republican here. They aren’t “scientists,” as they will frequently remind you.

Idiots.

[UPDATE]:

You know, after giving this more thought, I’m going to come back and say no, I don’t know what the fuck this idiot was trying to say. I’m not sure why swallowing a pill with a tiny camera for a colonoscopy (which, near as I can tell, is by no means the standard practice for these routine exams anyway) would preclude a tiny camera being put on the tip of a tampon or whatever. I mean, we all know how transvaginal ultrasounds work. Surely Idaho already has one of those vaginal probe abortion bills on the books — we do in Tennessee. Why he thought a tiny ingestible camera would be his “ah-ha” moment, I have no clue.

You know, my advice for you Republicans is to just shut up about women’s stuff. You continually make fools of yourself.

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Filed under abortion, feminism, Republican Party, women's rights

Skepticism

They don’t have to win the argument, they just have to “foster doubt”:

Historians and sociologists of science say that since the tobacco wars of the 1960s, corporations trying to block legislation that hurts their interests have employed a strategy of creating the appearance of scientific doubt, usually with the help of ostensibly independent researchers who accept industry funding.

Fossil-fuel interests have followed this approach for years, but the mechanics of their activities remained largely hidden.

“The whole doubt-mongering strategy relies on creating the impression of scientific debate,” said Naomi Oreskes, a historian of science at Harvard University and the co-author of “Merchants of Doubt,” a book about such campaigns. “Willie Soon is playing a role in a certain kind of political theater.”

Environmentalists have long questioned Dr. Soon’s work, and his acceptance of funding from the fossil-fuel industry was previously known. But the full extent of the links was not; the documents show that corporate contributions were tied to specific papers and were not disclosed, as required by modern standards of publishing.

Dr. Soon is yet another of those “ostensibly independent researchers who accept industry funding.” He’s actually an engineer, not a climate scientist, and real climate scientists say his research is “pointless” to their work. But he’s got the veneer of authority, because he is associated with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. And corporate shills in Washington (*cough*cough*Sen. James Inhofe*cough*cough*) who think we should be impressed by this pedigree trot him out to promote their “the jury is still out because of this guy here” parlor tricks.

So okay, buh-bye Dr. Soon. You violate scientific ethics, you lose your gig. Soon’s research was funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Southern Company (a utility holding company). And then there’s this:

However, other companies and industry groups that once supported Dr. Soon, including Exxon Mobil and the American Petroleum Institute, appear to have eliminated their grants to him in recent years.

As the oil-industry contributions fell, Dr. Soon started receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars through DonorsTrust, an organization based in Alexandria, Va., that accepts money from donors who wish to remain anonymous, then funnels it to various conservative causes.

Um, yeah. So a change in the funnel through which the cash flows. But the source remains the same. This is dirty pool. And I can’t imagine, with the bazillions of dollars spent on these propaganda campaigns and astroturfing and buying of elections, that this all makes financial sense for a corporation in the end. Wouldn’t it just be easier and cheaper to do the right thing from the get-go?

I guess not.

This meme from last year has always cracked me up:

PlotIdea

Last I checked, it’s not 97% — it’s 99%. And for every Dr. Soon exposed as a fraud that percentage grows. But remember, it’s not about “disproving” climate science. It’s about spreading doubt. It’s about perpetuating the false belief that “the jury is still out,” and “the science isn’t decided.”

Clever, but facts will out. This shit never works. Because what you say doesn’t change what is really happening. Sea levels are rising. Droughts are happening. Islands are disappearing. What some wingnut in Oklahoma thinks isn’t going to change that. And pretty soon these chickens will come home to roost on your street. Indeed, they already have.

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Filed under climate change, corporate overlords, corporations