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Gender: Male
Hometown: California
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 25,668

About Me

Inveniet quod quisque velit; non omnibus unum est, quod placet; hic spinas colligit, ille rosas.

Journal Archives

The lowly earthworm poses a dire threat to this California island (LA Times)

San Clemente Island has been invaded by foreign intruders, threatening inhabitants of the volcanic isle owned by the Navy.

The island is home to the only ship-to-shore bombardment training range in the United States, but this invasion isn’t part of a military exercise. The intruders are thousands of lowly earthworms.

While they may seem harmless, scientists say, the worms pose a mortal threat to the native species clinging to life on the island about 75 miles northwest of San Diego.

--- Snip ---

The invasion of earthworms in this earthworm-free region is a major concern. The worms alter the soil and microbial communities where they dwell, laying the groundwork for invasions of nonnative plants that would alter the island’s unique ecosystem and threaten biodiversity there, said Travis Longcore, a spatial scientist at USC.

--- Snip ---


Another one of those seemingly-inconsequential human disruptions that I never would have imagined...

This seems to be the speech:

And it seems that he's referring to this statement on the university website:


Doesn't take much to feed the RW froth-machine...

Edit to add the text of the relevant statement:

Beliefs on Diversity and Inclusion

At the University of Nebraska, we strive for excellence in all that we do. True excellence requires that each individual be able to work and learn in an atmosphere of respect, dignity, and acceptance. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion requires each of us to continuously ensure our interactions be respectful, protect free speech and inspire academic freedom.

At the University of Nebraska:
  • We value equity, inclusion, and dignity for all.
  • We strive for excellence and recognize that our differences make us stronger. We respect and seek out inclusion of differences, realizing we can learn from each other.
  • We insist on a culture of respect, and recognize that words and actions matter. The absence of action and words also matter.
  • We believe in the freedom of speech, and encourage the expression of ideas and opinions, and we do not tolerate words and actions of hate and disrespect. We know how to share criticism of ideas with respect.
  • We all share in the responsibility to create a positive culture and to safeguard equity, inclusion, dignity, and respect for all. Each member of the University community—faculty, staff and students—should be a role model for others.
  • We take action when we observe someone being treated unfairly or in a demeaning manner.

Why Small Rural Counties Send More People to Prison (NY Times)

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — Donnie Gaddis picked the wrong county to sell 15 oxycodone pills to an undercover officer.

If Mr. Gaddis had been caught 20 miles to the east, in Cincinnati, he would have received a maximum of six months in prison, court records show. In San Francisco or Brooklyn, he would probably have received drug treatment or probation, lawyers say.

But Mr. Gaddis lived in Dearborn County, Ind., which sends more people to prison per capita than nearly any other county in the United States. After agreeing to a plea deal, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

--- Snip ---

Just a decade ago, people in rural, suburban and urban areas were all about equally likely to go to prison. But now people in small counties are about 50 percent more likely to go to prison than people in populous counties.

--- Snip ---


Good, that's exactly what should happen

The only real benefit from 'buy backs' is the removal of a firearm from a place where it is unwanted and/or can't be stored properly. Once the gun is handed in, that benefit has fully accrued.

Firearms are worth money, and it's a very appropriate use of this resource to convert them into funds for public services. Destroying them provides no public benefit (and may even have a cost); firearms are fungible, and destroying the tiny number of them passing through buy-backs does nothing at all to deny a firearm to anyone who might want one...

Interesting. Previous articles made it sound like just the

'no-fly' list, but this one says it's the much broader watchlist - an even bigger misstep, I'd say.

I've posted my opposition to using these lists to deny citizens and residents their civil rights/liberties, but here are a couple of DU thread linking well-articulated arguments from outside sources:



There's a world of difference between NICS and the Terrorist

Watchlist (and its 'no-fly' subset). In the former, entry into the dataset follows after hearings, courts, convictions, is based on a transparent process, and uses a clearly-defined set of criteria. For the latter, entry is secret, based on non-transparent criteria, with no judicial process, and the appeal process (to the extent that it's possible) is likewise murky.

I've given my opinion in previous threads, but overall I would oppose any expansion or use of the Terrorist Watchlist or other secret lists beyond the investigatory realm, and I'd encourage our representatives to cast a very skeptical eye on the lists in general...

More generally, should a civil liberty be predicated on having a fixed (mailing) address?

I'm pretty sure that when it comes to voting for example, homeless persons can list shelters or a range of non-traditional addresses (like Dear's off-the-grid shack). I'd argue that something similar should apply to 2A rights, although it could get complicated in terms of public carry, and/or storage laws, for people who don't have access to a 'shack,' vehicle, storage locker, or the like...

It was never a ban in the usual meaning of the word, but rather a proscription

on advocacy inserted into the appropriation bill for the CDC coupled with some (temporary, albeit obviously pointed and threatening) removal of funding. CDC interpreted those action as a full-on ban on research. Here's the text of the 'ban'

“None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

And here's an article from the Washington Post that gives a decent background...

From the article, this part I agree with:

The FBI is notified when a background check for the purchase of firearms or explosives generates a match with the watch list, and agents often use that information to step up surveillance on terror suspects.

A NICS access seems like an appropriate datapoint for investigators. But I'm very leery of (suspicious of, opposed to) any expansion of the use of these secret lists, to further limit civil rights/liberties or basic privileges.

This part was interesting to me:

About 420,000 people are on the list administered by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, though only about 2 percent of those are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents legally able to buy guns.

That 420,000 is substantially lower than I've seen elsewhere, and I'd not seen before a percentage of US citizens/residents. If it's really as low as 2%, and if the 420,000 is correct, that's only 8400 citizens/residents. A really small number of people who would be able to buy a firearm in the first place. I think we should be critically questioning these lists in general, but another question that arises is: "Is it really worth allowing a secret government program to take precedence over and undermine the BoR, just in case some of that tiny number of people may be up to no good?"

The list in question is not the 'no fly' list, it's a much broader list of people for

whom the FBI believes it has "reasonable suspicion that the person is a known or suspected terrorist." A recent source I saw said there are ~700,000 people on the list, other source say up to 1.5 million people. They may not all be US citizens/residents, but I strongly disagree with Senator Feinstein et al. that this is an appropriate tool to deny civil liberties, civil rights, or privileges.

From the article:

The FBI is notified when a background check for the purchase of firearms or explosives generates a match with the watch list, and agents often use that information to step up surveillance on terror suspects.

This is as far as I think use of the list should go. (And just practically, if the people on the list are serious suspects, why tip them off with a NICS denial? And if they aren't serious suspects, why are they on the list?)
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