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Gender: Male
Hometown: California
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 24,817

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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?)

The Pedagogy of the Meaning of Racism: Reconciling a Discordant Discourse (by Carlos Hoyt Jr.)

The Pedagogy of the Meaning of Racism: Reconciling a Discordant Discourse
by Carlos Hoyt Jr.


Racism is a term on which a great deal of discourse does and should turn in all realms of social work theory, practice, policy, and research. Because it is a concept heavily freighted with multiple and conflicting interpretations and used in a wide variety of ways, the idea and action of racism is not easy to teach or learn in a simple and straightforward manner. It is a term the meaning of which has been the subject of so much argument and mutation that its utility as a clear and reliable descriptor of a crucial form of ideology or behavior is less than certain. In this article, an analysis of the dispute over the proper definition of racism is undertaken, and an approach to teaching about the term is offered in an effort to provide both teachers and students with a clear, consistent, and useful understanding of this important and challenging phenomenon.

Social Work (2012) 57 (3): 225-234. doi: 10.1093/sw/sws009


These 'definition of racism' threads come up a lot, and I've never been clear on the background and utility of the newer definition, the power + prejudice definition. (And, I see some issues with how that definition moves out into general discussion--such as on DU--in an unexamined way. There are shades of the ecological fallacy, it seems.)

The article above was informative for me, at least as a starting point...

Scientists Are Recording 24-Hour Soundtracks of Rainforests

In the dense rainforest of Papua New Guinea's Adelbert Mountains, birds-of-paradise, flightless cassowaries, frogs and insects are constantly making noise. But as the forest gets more developed, that could be changing. A group from the Nature Conservancy is keeping tabs on the health of the ecosystem by listening to its soundtrack.

The researchers have been working with community groups in the region for 15 years, trying to help them establish land use plans that sustain the growing communities and the forest’s native flora and fauna in the face of logging, clearcutting and farming. They had been doing small-scale sound recording, but now, with new technology, the group is recording day-long tracks and using a new technique to analyze the sound they record.

--- Snip ---

Bioacoustics give the researchers a broad picture of what’s going on in the ecosystem without them having to painstakingly count individual animals, the way they would in a traditional fauna survey.

“Sound is terrific because it captures a lot of stuff that is localized,” Game says. “We can look at indexes of sound as a gross measure of what’s happening in the landscape. Frogs, bats, insects, birds, they’re all vocalizing, and in an ideal intact forest, they all vocalize at different frequencies and patterns. As you lose species, you lose pieces of that spectrum.”

--- Snip ---


Why beef is the new SUV (CNN)

This is the story of a giant pile of beef.

--- Snip ---

But before I get into the business of explaining where this meat came from, and why eating this stuff has a massive, unexpected effect on climate change, I feel the need to confess something: That huge slab of brisket, which came to me by way of Snow's BBQ, a delightful shack of a place out here in the heart of Texas beef country, easily was one of the most food-orgasm-y things I've tasted.

--- Snip ---

But eating beef, as I'll explain, has come to be seen, rightly, in certain enviro circles, as the new SUV -- a hopelessly selfish, American indulgence; a middle finger to the planet. It's not the main driver of global warming -- that's burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation -- but it does contribute significantly.

Globally, 14.5% of all greenhouse gas pollution can be attributed to livestock, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the most reputable authority on this topic. And a huge hunk of the livestock industry's role -- 65% -- comes from raising beef and dairy cattle.

--- Snip ---


Nice long article tracing the climate impacts in the beef supply chain (and well-written, aside from some gratuitous snark about Vice-President Gore...)

I'm going to nominate another: The Cloud, by Percy Bysshe Shelley



I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

I don't think the government part of it should cost anything; only the aspects

that involve a private entity--a dealer administering a test, for example--should allow a fee (and there should always be a reasonable route to avoid the cost).

RKBA is a civil liberty, and there should be minimal/no arbitrary barriers to exercising a civil liberty. FOID requirements and such are already a barrier, which I agree is a legitimate one, but the issuance of permits can easily be done with no charge to the individual, and therefore it should be...

The GOP should be discussed in regular 'General Discussion'

(Here's a comment from Skinner in ATA to that effect: http://www.democraticunderground.com/12598164 )

Since the transition of 'Politics 2015' into 'GD: Primaries', the Host interpretation has been:

1) 'GD: Primaries' is for Dem primaries and nothing else (based on the SoP of GDP and the stop-screen),
2) Rep primaries are thus excluded from GDP and belong in 'General Discussion,' and
3) Dem primaries are excluded from GD and must be in GDP (based on the SoP of GD and the stickied info thread in GD).

(Edit to add a second ATA comment regarding renaming GD: Primaries, and/or including Republican primaries in GDP: http://www.democraticunderground.com/12598175 )

I agree, disqualifications and revocations of civil rights/liberties could be

more nuanced. There are non-violent felonies that really shouldn't affect RKBA, and some violent (or other) misdemeanors that should.

I'm also not in favor of life-time bans; IMO there should be a pre-determined sliding scale for restoring rights after a period of 'good behavior,' although I'd let judges over-ride that (in either direction) with a clear and articulated reason.

Nobody should ever lose the right to vote; even while incarcerated I think citizens should be able to vote absentee in their home precincts...

Amendment XYZ: Well-nourished children being essential for the productivity

of a modern state, the right of the people to plant and maintain backyard gardens shall not be infringed.

Queries for linguists, grammarians, syntacticians, high school and university English instructors: based on the phrasing of Amendment XYZ above,
  1. Is the right to plant and maintain gardens limited to those people who have children, or even to children themselves?
  2. Is the right to garden protected only when that garden is being specifically used for the feeding of children?
  3. Is the right to garden one which is held by individuals, or is it a right of the modern state (to be exercised through state-administered gardening programs, perhaps)?
  4. If a state-run system for the nourishment of children came into being (a really effective school lunch program for example), would the right to backyard gardening then evaporate?
  5. Does the right to plant and maintain a backyard garden come into being with Amendment XYZ, or does the phrasing of XYZ acknowledge an existing right and provide one (perhaps of many) reason to prevent infringement on that right?

Poll for entertainment purposes only, it doesn't relate to any of the above discussion prompts...
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