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Over Easy – What I Learned From Richard de Berry, or Part 6 – the Conclusion

7:55 am in Uncategorized by KrisAinTX

This is the 6th and final post in an ongoing series on gun violence. Click the hyperlinks for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

 photo Sky_zps2cc5442f.jpg

From my back porch.

Good morning firedogs, and happy Tuesday.

We have now explored many aspects of the gun control and gun violence conversation in America. We’ve seen how our peer nations address gun control. We’ve seen how easy it is to acquire a gun in the US. We’ve seen how self-defense weapons greatly increase your risk of death by firearms. We took a good look at the NRA and the mental health crisis in America.

We’ve had an extensive conversation, to be sure. 1,036 comments thus far in this series. I thank you all for your participation. What I had hoped to do when starting this series, my initial concept, was to start an ongoing and extensive conversation among the great minds here about the gun problem. I feel I’ve accomplished that. I also hoped to develop and solidify my own firm set of beliefs around the issue, and I’ve accomplished that as well.

I believed in those early days (just 8 weeks ago!) that the only concrete solution to the gun problem in America was a ban on firearm ownership, similar to the laws in Australia or England that we took a look at in Part 3. I don’t believe that this ban would need to include seizures of guns currently owned, as happened in Australia. I think many American gun owners would fight, and many would die. This is not a viable solution. I do think a ban could succeed long term if it were enacted now (or soon) and manufacture and sale of firearms ceased. 100 years from now, with guns cast aside, rusted out, and broken, the supply of firearms in America would be greatly depleted, and we would be a much safer nation. Our great grandchildren, and their children, would not have to witness the yearly Sandy Hook or Columbine massacres that seem so common now.

Alas, this ban will not happen. America’s government is far too beholden to monied interests to boldly erase a giant economic sector like weapons manufacturing.

Given that the best solution is not politically feasible, what are we left with? For me, the answer to that question is simple. A better ideal.

Much of what maligns our society can be addressed without touching anybody’s guns. There are many loosely related problems today that, if corrected, could reduce the number of violent homicides in America.

How? you might ask. Richard de Berry showed me the way.

Here at last, firedogs and dear readers, is my conclusion, and my hope for a better future.

When we last saw Richard, or SouthernDragon, he was treating some of us to another serving of Marx in the Morning, his recurring series on the teachings of Professor Richard Wolff. Richard died shortly thereafter, losing his final battle to cancer.

Before leaving us, Richard opened my eyes to an entirely new perspective. Marxism was alien to me, and his Marx in the Morning posts taught me that I could look at the world in a different way. I had been focusing on the wrong things for so long, never really seeing the true core of any particular issue.

What Richard taught me, through the works of Marx and Professor Wolff, was that people are the core of any societal issue, be the issue economic, political, or any other. If we seek to understand our fellows, we can better serve them and address their ills.

I was left then, when pondering how best to wrap up this series, with a gnawing question. Why do we kill each other so much? There are a handful of answers, and I believe they are the basic problems that we need to fix if we ever hope to reduce violence in America. These are large national issues, but I believe their solutions stem from us working at a local or individual level. There is something all of us can do to reduce violence.

Our mental health system is sorely lacking.

How can we fix that? There are other areas of this site that address the political fixes. Corporate ownership of our healthcare system severely inhibits positive change. We can, however, love our neighbors and friends. We can pay more attention to what they’re saying, how they’re feeling, or what they’re going through. We can be more aware of their ups and downs, and reach out more often. We can listen when someone wants to talk. Simple acts of kindness among us can go a long way to making our society more mentally healthy as a whole. I’m not suggesting that we can take the place of mental health professionals, or prevent a massacre like Sandy Hook or Aurora, but how many suicides do you think could be prevented this way? My guess is a lot.

Poverty breeds crime

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Over Easy – Mental Illness in America, or Part 5

7:55 am in Uncategorized by KrisAinTX

AUSTIN TEXAS, Charles Whitman: America's First College Mass Murderer

I never could quite make it. These thoughts are too much for me.

This is the 5th post in an ongoing series. Click for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Good morning firedogs, and happy Tuesday. Apologies for missing last week. I had some personal matters to attend to. Huge thanks to chicago dyke for filling in.

We’ve considered many different aspects of the gun problem in America. We now turn our attention to mental health.

Much of the gun violence in America goes unnoticed. Individual victims receive a brief mention on the evening news, and a small story on the bottom fold of the local rag’s front page, unless they’re in a major metropolitan area. Then the victim is lucky to get a mention on page 2 of the local section. Many times these victims are young and poor, and often they are African-American or Hispanic. Our media doesn’t care about these folks, and the world moves on, never having known who or what its lost.

The stories we do hear about, the images plastered all over the national news, are the spree killings and massacres. Sandy Hook. Aurora. Virgina Tech. Columbine. These are all part of the American Tapestry. Stories woven into the hearts and minds of all of us. Pictures and interviews with family members of the victims are plastered all over the print media and airwaves. Creepy photographs of the shooters are blown up for all to gaze at in terror and awe, and printed on every website and magazine. We hear about this shooter‘s autism* and possible personality disorder. We hear about these shooters‘ depression and suicidal thoughts. Or this young man‘s mental illness.

As a nation, our attention is always held by these spree killings and massacres. Most Americans seem to find some macabre pleasure in hearing every last detail. This woman gave her life to shield a child, that man tackled the shooter, this perpetrator got rejected by the Army. Every detail, no matter how minute, or how gory, is water cooler conversationr fodder. All our friends and coworkers have heard the latest news. Everyone is following the aftermath of the school shooting du jour. The average individual craves information when these shootings occur. We want to know. We want to understand. Because we fear. Somewhere, within 6 – 8 hours of the initial eports of the shooting, the same question is on most tongues: How did this happen?

The answer to that particular question is always complicated, and never revealed in full, in my humble opinion. There are many factors, and each perpetrator’s or suspect’s case is unique. One thing, however, is certain; most of these spree killers have been treated for, or have been suspected of having, a mental illness.This information very rapidly comes to light after a spree shooting or massacre.

The topic for the media, within 2 to 3 days of the shooting, must then pivot to blame. Why wasn’t the shooter stopped? Why wasn’t he caught in time? Why wasn’t his mental illness treated more vigorously? Why did that crazy kid have those guns? Why didn’t we spot the warning signs and do something.

These questions are asked angrily by pundits, with much flourish and pounding of fists. They are asked breathlessly, as if a prayer or a plea, by morning show hosts and evening newscasters. These questions are always asked. Rarely answered.

The answer is simple, my dear firedogs, and has only two parts!

Part one – mental illness is heavily stigmatized in our country.

The stigmatization of mental illness in America has been discussed elsewhere by my betters.

Unfortunately, the media is responsible for many of the misconceptions which persist about people with mental illnesses.  Newspapers, in particular, often stress a history of mental illness in the backgrounds of people who commit crimes of violence.

The stigma surrounding mental illness keeps many from seeking treatment. This same keeps others from reporting suspicious or potentially dangerous behavior, for fear that their friend or family member may be labeled ‘crazy’ or put away in an institution.

The reasons are myriad, but the bottom line is clear – mental illness often goes untreated in America simply because people are afraid of mental illness. This is something that needs to be addressed and corrected if we are ever to move forward with a safer future.

Part two – our healthcare system is a for-profit industry.

In the last post in this series I talked about the National Rifle Association, and the 180 degree shift in the aims of that organization when corporate money started rolling in. Our health insurance industry is much the same. What used to be rightly called health care can now not be called such.

Make no mistake, firedogs – what we have in this country is not a healthcare system. Or health and well-being are a complex budget variable, only factoring into the discussions of the industry when they’re deciding how much to raise our rates or charge for services.

The health insurance industry in this country is not interested in treating men like Adam Lanza. The health insurance industry is only interested in profit. Unless the patient can be medicated, and continues to pay a premium and a copay on a recurring basis, the health insurance industry is not interested in the patient.

We all have our stories with regard to the health insurance industry in America. We’ve all had personal experiences where our rates jumped or our prescription coverages changed drastically. The insurance product itself has changed significantly in the last 10 years. Just 6 years ago, my health plan covered everything. All I had to do was pay my monthly premium and my copay. Now, my insurance covers nothing until I pay my premiums and spend $4,000 out of pocket. The insurance product has degraded, rotted away to almost nothing. We are no longer insured, but held in a position (by an abominable law…) where we are forced to profit the insurer and the provider while getting almost nothing of value in return.

I realize I’m rambling here, and have wandered far from topic. It’s 11:34PM and I’m too tired to go back and rewrite :) Call me lazy in the comments.

The point I’m driving at here, dear reader, is that our health insurance system is no longer in place for our benefit. Many of us are no longer receiving much-needed treatment because we either can’t afford it, or our insurers won’t allow it. Which kind of amounts to the same thing, dunnit?

Young men like Adam Lanza, Jared Laughner, and others who have recently committed massacres, now live in a country where their problems are a stigma, and the possible solutions to those stigmatized problems are priced beyond their reach. It’s a two-fold problem that breaks the backs of many, spree killer or not.

The greed-run-rampant in our health insurance industry is keeping people in desperate need from getting help. Maybe, just maybe, if we stopped making mentally ill people feel like outsiders, and if we stopped insurers from pricing help beyond the reach of those in need, we would have fewer killings.

Alas and alack! Word count, mumble mumble, *rubs eyes*. Next up, the conclusion. I’ve gone as far as I can with this topic, folks. It’s been huge and awkward, and I thank you for following me here. Next Tuesday I’ll wrap this up, and after that you can have your regular Over Easy Tuesday posts back. I promise.

This is Over Easy. As always, off topic is safe and welcome.

I’ll see you in the comments.

*Fuck everyone in the media who talked about Adam Lanza’s autism or Asperger Syndrome as if this were a mental illness. Seriously. Assholes.

Photo at top by ATOMIC hot links via Flickr.

Over Easy – Guns and Money, or Part 4

7:55 am in Uncategorized by KrisAinTX

This is the 4th post in an ongoing series. For Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, click the corresponding hyperlinks.

NRA_Virginia_HQ

National Rifle Headquarters in Virginia.

Good morning firedogs, and happy Tuesday. I hope everyone is well-rested and adjusted to the time change, and ready to dive back into the topic of gun control. Here’s how we left things -

Which brings me to the close of this post, and the introduction of next week’s topic – Next Tuesday we will examine the NRA

Ah, the NRA! We’re all very familiar with their exploits, right? We know well the rantings of Wayne LaPierre and Charlton Heston. We’ve also seen recently how the NRA has teamed up with ALEC to draft suggested legislation enacting ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, among others.

How have these laws played out in America? Most of us have heard of the Trayvon Martin case. Our very own Masoninblue has done incredible diary work around the prosecution of George Zimmerman for Trayvon’s homicide. George Zimmerman has claimed self-defense as his justification for shooting and killing Trayvon, citing Florida’s Stand Your Ground law as cover for his actions.

Stand Your Ground laws are now in place in 23 states. Since their enactment, homicide rates in these states have increased significantly, by 7 to 9 percent. From NPR -

We find that there are 500 to 700 more homicides per year across the 23 states as a result of the laws

So the NRA, through ALEC, seems to be responsible for laws that have resulted in 500 to 700 more homicides per year across about half of our states. I guess that’s the cost of defending the 2nd Amendment and promoting marksmanship.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I personally lay some blame for each of those deaths at the doorsteps of the NRA and ALEC.

The NRA sponsors legislation, in almost all cases, that increases or maintains accessibility to firearms and their accessories. So what is behind this? Is it a passionate belief in their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment? Is it an insane need to possess and use weapons? Available evidence would suggest ‘No’ is the appropriate answer to those two questions. It seems the simple answer is greed.

In its early days, the National Rifle Association was a grassroots social club that prided itself on independence from corporate influence.

Hey! Cool! Sounds like a lot of organizations that I support. But wait a minute…

today less than half of the NRA’s revenues come from program fees and membership dues.

Well, what does that mean exactly? More than half the NRA’s revenue is coming from another source, but how much of that is from corporate donors?

The NRA also made $20.9 million — about 10 percent of its revenue — from selling advertising to industry companies marketing products in its many publications in 2010, according to the IRS Form 990.

Additionally, some companies donate portions of sales directly to the NRA. Crimson Trace, which makes laser sights, donates 10 percent of each sale to the NRA. Taurus buys an NRA membership for everyone who buys one of their guns. Sturm Rugar gives $1 to the NRA for each gun sold, which amounts to millions. The NRA’s revenues are intrinsically linked to the success of the gun business.

The NRA Foundation also collects hundreds of thousands of dollars from the industry, which it then gives to local-level organizations for training and equipment purchases.

Or, in short -

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Over Easy – Firearms in Foreign Countries, or Part 3

7:50 am in Uncategorized by KrisAinTX

This is the 3rd post in an ongoing series. Click for Part 1 and Part 2.

Good morning firedogs, and happy Tuesday!

MR 38 Match MA27147 01

A match revolver, used in competition shooting.

Last week we examined the general process involved in purchasing a firearm in the US. We followed our friends Chad and Brad as they bought guns. We learned how easy it is for someone with a mental health issue to purchase a firearm. This week we’ll look at what would happen if Chad or Brad lived abroad.

What follows are a number of our ‘peer’ Nations and their legal procedures for obtaining a firearm. For some of these nations I’ve included a bit of background for context.

The UK

In Hungerford, Berkshire, England on August 19th, 1987, Michael Robert Ryan shot 31 people, killing 16 of them. He then turned the weapon on himself and ended his life. He was 27 years old. Michael was the legal, registered owner of the two semi-automatic rifles and the semi-automatic pistol used in the shootings.

In response to what came to be known as the Hungerford Massacre the UK government passed the amended Firearms Act of 1988. This sweeping reform outlawed burst-fire weapons, semi-automatic or pump-action rifles (excepting those chambered for .22 rimfire), rifles with a barrel length shorter than 24 inches or overall length shorter than 40 inches, many revolvers, and some pistols. The Act also gave the Home Secretary the power to ban any firearm deemed “specially dangerous” or designed to evade a metal detector, provided that the weapon hadn’t been widely sold in Britain before the passage of the act. This law remained in place and unamended until 1997.

On March 13th, 1996, Thomas Hamilton entered the Dunblane Primary School in Dunbane, Scotland. He was armed with 4 semi-automatic handguns. Hamilton shot and killed 16 children and one adult before taking his own life.

The Dunblane School Massacre led to the Amended Firearms Act of 1997, which made private ownership of handguns (excepting .22 rimfire) illegal in the UK.

Most weapons are thus prohibited in the UK. There are some exceptions. Muzzle-loading handguns are permitted, as are some black-powder weapons. Some historic or antique firearms are still allowed as collectibles, and some sporting rifles and shotguns are still permitted.

The licensing process is rigorous, involving an official inquiry into the individual applying. The inquiry consists of a home visit to check safety measures and storage facilities for the firearm, interviews with references provided by the applicant, a rigorous background check, mental health screening by way of needed approval from the applicant’s family doctor, and more.

To obtain a firearm in the UK, the applicant must have “good reason” to possess the firearm. Each firearm is individually licensed, with the application process repeated for each gun a person requests to own.

Self-defense has not been an accepted reason to own a gun in the UK since 1968.

Japan

Japanese gun laws have always been incredibly rigid. Very strict governmental regulations have been in place for centuries. Japan’s gun statute begins -

No-one shall possess a fire-arm or fire-arms or a sword or swords…

Only certain rifles and shotguns are permitted in Japan, after a lengthy licensing process, and only for sporting reasons. A Japanese citizen cannot legally hold a firearm unless they have a license.

Self-defense is not a valid reason to own a firearm according to Japanese law.

Australia

From Wikipedia -

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Over Easy – Chad and Brad Buy a Gun!, or Part 2

7:50 am in Uncategorized by KrisAinTX

This is the 2nd post in an ongoing series. You can find the first post, You and Guns, or The Beginning, here.

Good morning firedogs, and happy Tuesday!

Gun ShowLast week we looked at statistics pertaining to your personal safety in the presence of a firearm. We also took a brief look at how prevalent firearms are in American society. This week I’d like to examine one of the central issues that finds its way into any gun control conversation – accessibility and availability.

Let’s begin at the beginning. Who is allowed to own a gun?

The short answer to this question is darn near everyone. An individual 21 or older can acquire a handgun, and an individual 18 or older can acquire a rifle or shotgun, from a Federally licensed firearm dealer in any state. An individual 18 or older can purchase a handgun in a private transaction.

The better question to ask is ‘Who isn’t allowed to own a gun?’. The following is a list of prohibited persons (thanks Wiki!) according to Federal Firearms Law.

  • Those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors except where state law reinstates rights, or removes disability.
  • Fugitives from justice.
  • Unlawful users of certain depressant, narcotic, or stimulant drugs.
  • Those adjudicated as mental defectives or incompetents or those committed to any mental institution and currently containing a dangerous mental illness.
  • Non-US citizens, unless permanently immigrating into the U.S. or in possession of a hunting license legally issued in the U.S.
  • Illegal Aliens.
  • Those who have renounced U.S. Citizenship.
  • Minors defined as under the age of eighteen for long guns and under the age of twenty-one for handguns, with the exception of Vermont, eligible at age sixteen.
  • Persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
  • Persons under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year are ineligible to receive, transport, or ship any firearm or ammunition.

Well that seems like a pretty comprehensive list. It would appear that if you’re a crazy person, a convict, a domestic abuser, a kid, or under indictment, you can’t get a gun. These are great laws. The problem arises when it comes time to enforce the laws. On the front lines of firearms retail, what is being done to prevent individuals who fall into the above categories from obtaining a gun?

Let’s take a look at the typical process of buying a firearm.

I’ve composed two narratives. I find narratives easier to read than hard analysis. The following two stories are theoretical scenarios based on current law and documented problems (see here, here, and here).

Chad, the Law-Abiding Everyman

Chad wants to purchase a semi-automatic varmint rifle. Chad is a responsible, upstanding citizen who has never been in any trouble. He’s a proud Texan, a Longhorn fan, a real estate agent, and a 3 handicap at the local golf course. Chad happens to have a problem with various rodents on his property, and wants to be able to dispatch them from a distance.

Chad spends some time researching different firearms on the internet and decides to purchase a Ruger 10/22 .22LR Carbine Autoloading Rifle.  These rifles are readily available, ammunition is cheap and effective for Chad’s planned use, and these rifles have gained a great reputation over the years for durability and reliability. There are a wide array of accessories for the 10/22, including extended 30 round magazines and tactical stocks and grips. The 10/22 can accommodate a telescopic sight, which will perfectly suit Chad’s needs.

Chad heads over to his local sporting goods store and approaches the firearms counter. A friendly clerk shows Chad the available 10/22, which Chad finds agreeable. The clerk asks Chad for his Driver’s license and proceeds to fill out ATF form 4473. This form is then fed into a computer and the data is used to run a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check at the Federal level. Chad’s background check of course comes up clear, and 15 minutes later he’s leaving the store with his 10/22 and 500 rounds of .22LR hollow-point ammunition. Chad’s total purchase runs $250 including taxes.

Chad is now the happy owner of a semi-automatic rifle and 500 rounds of hollow-point ammunition.

Brad, the Diagnosed Schizophrenic

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Over Easy – You and Guns, or The Beginning

7:50 am in Uncategorized by KrisAinTX

 photo Airsoft_zps154dbf55.jpg

Yeah, that's me. No, it's not real

Good morning firedogs, and happy Tuesday.

Yesterday I was up against a wall. Suffering from a bit of writer’s block, even. I could not come up with a topic for today’s post that stirred my passion as an activist, a person, a parent… anything. My only semi-solid thought was a post about gun control, but it seems like such a large and complex issue. I wasn’t sure I wanted to try tackling it here at Over Easy.

So I did what I always do when I’m at a loss for ideas. I opened Twitter and began aimlessly scrolling through my timeline, chasing links and reading the first paragraph or two of each article. It wasn’t long before I happened upon this piece (h/t our very own Kit O’Connell for the RT that caught my eye).

My very own Texas Legislature, those bicameral blowhards who only work 140 days every 2 years, are currently contemplating legislation that would

… exempt firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition manufactured in Texas from federal regulation. Under the bill, as long as those items stayed within the state and were manufactured in Texas except for the import of basic materials from other states, they would not be subject to any federal regulations, including registration.

The utter idiocy and staggering tribalism of this move sparked my fury. Exempt from registration, even? Are you kidding me? Surely you jest. The article goes on to quote this sterling scholar, Elizabeth Saunders

Taking guns away from the people that are responsible is not going to help,” Saunders said. “There are other areas that need to be regulated…controlling the mental illness that is so high in this country, the drugs and the bullying. It is just not like when I grew up.

Now, Elizabeth goes on to make a couple of valid points, and I won’t pick her apart here. She’s a small business owner, and I’ve learned from every Republican that has drawn a breath over the last 30 years that she is to be respected and even worshiped as a lesser God, because she is a job creator.

So moving on. All of this is to say, dear reader, that my fire was lit. Gun control was squarely in my sights. Pun intended, of course.

I started writing an outline, quickly realizing that my word count would greatly exceed what even I would consider readable. I decided to break this out into a series of posts over the coming few weeks. Hopefully I’ll still have friends among you when I’m done.

Enough about me. Let’s talk about you.

You are likely outnumbered, as a US Citizen, by guns. According to the Congressional Research Service in a report from November 2012 (big .pdf, figures on page 8), there are approximately 310 million guns owned by private citizens in the United States. Here’s the money quote:

Per capita, the civilian gun stock has roughly doubled since 1968, from one gun per every two
persons to one gun per person.

These figures do not factor in guns possessed by domestic military installations, nor guns possessed and housed by domestic law enforcement agencies. That figure is estimated at 4 million firearms.

The 2012 estimated population of the United States is 313,914,040.

This means that you are outnumbered. There are more guns in America than there are people.

You are more likely to die at the end of a gun if you own a gun, or if you live in a home where a gun is kept.

A study published in 1992 by the New England Journal of Medicine, conducted by researchers  in the Department of Medicine at the University of Tennessee in Memphis, found that you are almost 5 times more likely to commit suicide if there is a gun in the home.

A similar study by researchers of the same department, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993, found that you are almost 3 times more likely to be murdered if there is a gun in the home. From the study:

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Over Easy – I’ve Got the World on a String

7:50 am in Uncategorized by KrisAinTX

[Portrait of Billy Eckstine and Nelson Riddle, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948] (LOC)Good morning firedogs. All over the place with the links today.  Couldn’t find one specific topic that I wanted to explore further. Here they are.

We have spent quite a bit of time these past few weeks talking about gun control here in the United States. Here is a take on the situation abroad.

Did you folks catch Gun Appreciation Day this past weekend? These people were on the wrong end of it.

Do you have young adult children? Warn them about this guy.

‘Only my own cowardice has kept me from ending it all.’ Harrowing stories of long term unemployment.

The inauguration yesterday was fabulous, no? Here is a list of children killed by drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.

Well, all of those links were downers, eh? How about some happier stuff?

Yahoo brings us the best photo bombs of the inauguration.

This dad promised his kids a puppy if their post could get a million ‘likes’ on Facebook. Guess how it turned out?

Here’s a cute kitten.

And here’s a tune.

See you in the comments firedogs.

Over Easy – In the Mood

7:50 am in Uncategorized by KrisAinTX

Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller because I said so

Good morning firedogs! Happy Tuesday to you all.

I’ve decided that my normal topics of activism and education are going to evolve into a grab bag. There hasn’t been much in the way of education news lately that has caught my attention, so I decided to take myself outside the box. If you don’t like it, vote me off the island!

Here are your links for the day.

Gun control has been a hot topic in the wake of the Sandy Hook Massacre. Here in Central Texas, Travis County officials are poised to take a step in the right direction.

Here’s a great article from WarIsACrime.org about indigenous Guatemalans (read Maya) resisting the incursion of American mining corporations.

A story that made me happy. From the folks over at BuzzFeed – Servicemembers Kicked Out Under Military’s Gay Ban Since ’04 To Receive Full Separation Pay.

Boulder, CO. A neighborhood held a candlelight vigil on Sunday to mourn an elk that was shot and killed by a police officer.

You’re in good hands with AllState, right? Not so much. At least these Sandy victims are not.

That’s all I’ve got for today folks. Be sure to head over here to check out EdwardTeller’s coverage of the Shell flustercuck in Alaska, here for a great article by amerigus on the Steubenville rape case, and here for Tom Engelhardt’s write-up including Bill McKibben’s recent piece on climate change. (MyFDL rawks)

Here’s a cute kitten pic just because.

And a tune.

See you in the comments!