Photo of the day

Recent National Geographic photo of the day:

Picture of an abandoned torpedo station, Gdynia, Poland

Factory Setting

Photograph by Trynidada, National Geographic Your Shot

An abandoned World War II torpedo station appears suspended between a moody sky and a calm bay near Gdynia on the coast of Poland. Setting out from Warsaw, Your Shot member Trynidada drove through the night to catch the first light of sunrise—but as the sun came up, the weather turned dark. “The sky had this steel-like color, with just a hint of white clouds moving slowly on the horizon,” Trynidada writes.

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Yes, the NRA really is evil

So, interesting post from Mark Follman filling in for Kevin Drum looking at the politics of gun control.  He argues that both sides are guilty of excesses and see the issue as too dichotomous.  He then goes on to (quite properly) blame most of the problem on the NRA.  That said, this part really bugged me:

Some of the blame also falls on the gun-control movement, which expends considerable energy pontificating about how the NRAisevil. Of course, this bleak if cartoonish disconnect hardly reflects most Americans’ attitudes about firearms, gun owners included.

Notice that rhetorical sleight of hand in an effort to show how fair and balanced he is?  Gun owners are not evil.  Gun owners who belong to and support the NRA are not evil. But as somebody who has, in fact, called the NRA evil, I stand by the claim that the organization itself is evil.  When you look at their extreme and obscene willingness to sacrifice human lives for gun manufacturer profits and their completely delusional beliefs that Democrats are somehow coming to take away all their guns, this is a very fair conclusion.

The article also links to a video that nicely summarizes the economic impact (horrible human suffering aside) of America’s gun ownership policies.

Quick hits

1) David Goldberg, the husband of Sheryl “lean in” Sandberg, suffered an untimely death last week.  Nice article on his life and how he made it possible for Sandberg to lean in.

2) Private prisons are so wrong.  Among other things, they are incentivized to allow more human suffering to earn greater profits.  They can also sue states if they don’t stay full.

3) The Cleveland Indians have an awesome recycling program that runs on massive garbage disposals.

4) These photography tips are pretty cool; I’m going to have to try some.

5) This point doesn’t get old– inequality is a policy choice.  Nice column on the matter from Kristof.

6) Really enjoyed Ross Douthat’s essay on Pope Francis.

7) The head of the Federal Elections Commission has to sadly admit the FEC will be largely unable to prevent widespread campaign finance abuse in 2016.  Why?  The Republicans on the commission basically believe in widespread campaign finance abuse.

8) John Cassidy on the Republican field for president:

If your head is spinning, join the club. Nobody should be expected, or forced, to keep up with every detail of the G.O.P. primary, especially when, Lord help us, we still have more than eight months to go until the Iowa caucuses. At this stage, the important thing to remember is that there are really two spectacles taking place: a high-stakes horse race for the Republican nomination, and a circus held on the infield of the track. Although the events run concurrently, and are ostensibly geared toward the same end, they shouldn’t be confused with one another. One is a serious political contest. The other is a sideshow, designed to amuse the spectators, give the media something to cover, and further the ambitions, varied as they are, of the participants.

9) This article about an Ebola survivor who discovered later he had tons of the virus in his eyeball was fascinating.  Among other things, I had not known about “immune privilege” of that your eyeball benefits from being immune privileged.

10) It’s really kind of amazing that a local television station– local news generally being the province of fires, crime, and 15 minute weather reports– does a terrific job covering state and local politics.  Fortunately for me, it’s my very own local station.  The great work of Raleigh’s WRAL is recognized in CJR.

11) A future without chocolate?  Perish the thought.  But we’ll have to work at it and that’s what the International Cocoa Quarantine Centre is doing.

12) On the taboo of sharing how much money you make and why we should break it.  I won’t share mine, but it is public record if you really want to know.

13) Mitt Romney literally does not even understand what “mass incarceration” is.  Scary to think he could’ve been president.  And this is so pathetic.  Chait’s on it, so you know it’s a good read.

14) Cut the cord to your cable and think you are done with unwanted bundles?  Not so fast; bundling is coming to internet TV.

15) Congressional Republicans are no fans of making it easier for people to afford a college education.

16) Based on my experience, it always struck me that people would blame their infant’s fussiness on “teething” when there was really no particular reason to think that was the case (among other things, you never feel it all when your permanent teeth come in).  Looks like I’ve got science on my side.

17) Loved the new documentary on Kurt Cobain.  Damn if Kurt Cobain isn’t just the prototype of the tortured artist.  And I remember quite distinctly where I was when I found out he died (I was on a pre grad school visit to Ohio State and there were some guys driving around in a car yelling “Kurt Cobain is dead!”)  I’ve been listening to Nirvana a ton this week as a result (In Utero is playing as a type this post).  Also enjoyed showing my oldest the Smells Like Teen Spirit video which he had never seen.

18) I’ll leave you with this awesome, awesome Amy Schumer video on birth control.  It’s short and brilliant, so watch it already.

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