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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 11:47 AM
Number of posts: 13,797

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Spoon-bending workshop, widely ridiculed online, pulled by university


'There is absolutely no physical way you can bend a spoon with your mind'

After a healthy dose of online ridicule, the University of Alberta has cancelled a workshop at which doctors were supposed to learn to bend spoons.

With their minds.

When Tim Caulfield first spotted a poster for the event, he didn't understand what he was seeing.

"When I first saw the post I thought it might be a magic show," said the professor of health law and science policy at U of A. "But this wasn't being presented as that, or as satire, it was being presented as a real event where you're supposed to use the power of your mind to bend spoons."

The seminar, titled simply "Spoon Bending and the Power of the Mind," was arranged by the university's Complementary and Alternative Research and Education program or CARE, as part of the Pediatric Integrative Medicine Rounds, a series of monthly seminars presenting a specialist in the field of integrative medicine to a clinical audience.

Imagine my lack of surprise when I read that this was to have been
"taught" by a Reiki practitioner...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Jun 6, 2016, 09:56 PM (8 replies)

There will be no unity without a ticket that has *both* Clinton AND Sanders on it

In either order.

If Clinton gets the presidential nod, she'll need Sanders to campaign for her and if
she wins she'll need at least one person around not inclined to genuflect.

If it's Sanders, Hillary can be his devil's advocate and tell him when neccessary
"Bernie, that shit ain't gonna happen, and here's why".

If this sounds unlikely, consider John F. Kennedy's choice of Lyndon Johnson as VP
after Johnson tried to defeat Kennedy in the 1960 primaries:


Or the vice-presidency of Henry A. Wallace, a guy who made FDR look like
Warren B. Harding:


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Jun 6, 2016, 05:35 PM (45 replies)

Poll: The "Under The Gun" director owned and defended her pious fraud in an interview...


Is that sort of edit in line with standard practices for documentary filmmaking?

I think it has a different standard than the nightly news has. When you’re making a film like this, the goal is to get people to come to theaters to watch your film. You have to provide a thematic experience for them. I don’t think we misconstrued any of the facts. I think the VCDL made their position on background checks very clear earlier in the film and throughout the film. So yeah, I do think it’s pro forma for filmmaking.

Couric said in her statement that she spoke with you about the edit and raised concerns. Did she?

We talked about everything in the film and all edit choices. I’m the director of the film and at the end of the day I felt it was necessary to stop down and give people a moment to consider the question.

She mentioned you by name in her statement. Did you feel at all like she was attempting to shift blame for the controversy to you?

Not at all. Any time Katie does an interview and receives a compliment on the film she says, “It’s all Stephanie. I can take very little credit for this. Stephanie and her team did all of this.” That swings both ways, right? In other decisions that I made I need to take responsibility, too, and this was my choice.

In what way, if any, does she differ from James O'Keefe?

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Jun 2, 2016, 01:55 PM (12 replies)

Once again, the VPC hopes you are both easily frightened and poor at math

The Violence Policy Center has cranked up its evergreen moral panic
"Concealed Carry Killers"- and the gullible and doctrinaire fall for it:



Concealed Carry Tragedies Include Workplace Shooting, Six-Year-Old Unintentionally Killing Father.

Washington, DC — Concealed handgun permit holders are responsible for at least 873 deaths not involving self defense since 2007, including 29 mass shootings that killed 139 people, ongoing VPC research shows. Since there is no comprehensive record keeping of fatal incidents involving concealed carry permit holders, this tally most likely represents a small fraction of the actual total.

I couldn't be arsed to look for any 2014 or 2015 screeds from them, so let's
look at one from 2013:


Research Details Hundreds of Examples of Innocent Lives Lost to “Concealed Carry Killers"

June 27, 2013
3:18 PM
CONTACT: Violence Policy Center
Avery Palmer, 202-822-8200 x104, apalmer@vpc.org

As Zimmerman Case Begins, VPC Research Details Hundreds of Examples of Innocent Lives Lost to “Concealed Carry Killers

WASHINGTON - June 27 - Washington, DC— As the trial opens this week over the deadly shooting of Trayvon Martin, research shows that similar fatal incidents are shockingly common. The Violence Policy Center has uncovered hundreds of examples of non-self defense incidents involving private citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns. These incidents resulted in 516 deaths — including 24 mass shootings and the killing of 14 law enforcement officers.

Doing the math, and according to the VPC, concealed carriers are responsible for 357
deaths over the last three years, or 119 a year.
Lets stipulate, for the sake of this argument, that all of those deaths were murders
even if they were not.

Now comes the part where the wheels fall off the panic mongering.

The lowest estimate I can find for the number of concealed handgun permit holders
in the US is 11.1 million- other figures cited were a high of 12.8 million but
I'll stick with the low one. Taking that number, and using the numbers given by the
VPC, we see that 119/11100000 = a murder rate of 0.93 per 100,000 permit
holders, a rate about one-fifth of the US population as a whole

Source for US murder rate:



Worse for the controllers, these numbers mean that those 'concealed carry killers'
kill at a lower rate than does the populations of the UK, France,
Australia (where have I heard that name recenly?), Ireland, Canada...



and at par with Norway and Sweden

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed May 18, 2016, 05:03 PM (31 replies)

The VPC contradicted itself, and the anti-gunners fell for it

From the other group:


Self-Defense Gun Use is Rare, New VPC Study Confirms

Washington, DC — New research from the Violence Policy Center (VPC) confirms that contrary to what the firearms industry and gun lobby claim, private citizens rarely use guns to kill criminals or stop crimes.

The new study, Firearm Justifiable Homicides and Non-Fatal Self-Defense Gun Use, analyzes the most recent federal data available, which shows that private citizens use guns to harm themselves or others far more often than to kill in self-defense.

Got that headline and first sentence? A strong clear claim, is it not? Not surprisingly,
given the general mendacity of Josh Sugarman and the VPC, it's not true

Who says so? The VPC itself, in the body of the touted 'study':


Page 5:


Hemenway notes, and numerous others agree, that the most accurate survey of self-defense
gun use is the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) conducted
by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

And what numbers did the NCVS give for self defensive use of firearms?
From the next page:


"Threatened or attacked with a firearm"

Note: This is *not* the only type of defensive gun use. Sometimes, mere display suffices
and many DGUs are not reported to police - mine wasn't, for instance

Cut to the chase- how many of these 'rare' occasions happened during the period under study?


From the same page:

Violent Crime 2012-2014
Property Crime 2012-2014

Self-Protective Behavior
Threatened or attacked with a firearm
163,600 99,900

Given the total number of DGUs, and even accounting for the restricted definition,

262,500/731 (days) = 359 defensive gun uses per day 2012-2014

How many people were murdered via firearm in 2013? The FBI says 8454:


8454/365(days) = ca. 21 firearms murders per day

Therefore in 2013 there were 18x as many defensive gun uses (using the VPC's own
restricted definiton than there were murders via gun

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun May 15, 2016, 11:13 PM (22 replies)

If GD:P is important to you, start downloading and saving it now before it closes

I find GD: Primaries fascinating, so I will be 'caching' it for historical purposes

Granted, DU isn't a hotbed of Memory Hole use like Free Republic- but GDP *will* be going
away in a few weeks. So if any of you want to keep it permanently, you need to get
a few terabytes worth of external drives (or a BD/DVD burner and a spindle of blank discs)
and get busy- I've got a couple of drives I can fill...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun May 15, 2016, 04:44 PM (24 replies)

In yet another Massachusetts town, further gun controls are rejected

Two months back, it was Lexington:

Yesterday, it was Longmeadow's turn, previously discussed at:


It turned out even less well for the controllers than it did in Lexington:


Longmeadow residents defeat controversial gun control initiatives in Town Meeting

LONGMEADOW — Longmeadow residents defeated three proposals for increased gun control bylaws with overwhelming majorities in a Town Meeting that also rejected a 20 mile per hour speed limit, and designated Wolf Swamp fields as a recreation space.

For more than an hour, nearly 1,000 residents who attended Town Meeting Tuesday night debated the three citizen-led initiatives to impose bylaws that would have imposed $300 fines for carrying guns in public buildings, possessing an assault weapon and required gun owners to register their weapons with the police department...

...All three bylaw proposals failed by an overwhelming majority.

One report said the vote was 950 to 30. Heh!

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed May 11, 2016, 09:21 PM (4 replies)

'Gun safety organizations' are no different from 'crisis pregnancy centers' in that...

...their true purposes are elided by those who operate them, and I wouldn't trust
either sets of management as far as I could throw them.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon May 2, 2016, 03:05 AM (2 replies)

Oopsie: "Brady Campaign's ad draws ire of U.S. anti-gun violence activists"

Saw this mentioned at the other group, and felt it was too good not to post:


The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said on Friday it has sharply cut back an online ad that had used the names and faces of mass shooters and urged the news media not to identify them after the group drew criticism from other gun control activists...

...The prominent use of the names and images of Adam Lanza, who shot dead 20 children and six educators at a Newtown elementary school, and James Holmes, who fatally shot 12 people at an Aurora movie theater, in the two-minute online spot angered fellow anti-gun-violence campaigners.

The Brady Campaign's ad prompted a petition (chn.ge/1SCfovp) on activist website Change.org calling for the ad to be taken down. Some 93 people had signed that petition as of midday Friday.

"It was very hurtful to many gun violence victims and survivors," said Anita Busch, a Los Angeles-based entertainment journalist whose cousin was slain in the Aurora massacre and who said she posted the petition. "For the Brady Campaign to not get it is just shocking, honestly."

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Apr 29, 2016, 07:00 PM (4 replies)
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