I want a flamethrower

There’s a Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin asks for a flamethrower. His father answers “Of course not. Don’t be silly.” Isn’t that quaint. Now we have:

The accidental shooting death of a firing-range instructor by a 9-year-old girl with an Uzi has set off a powerful debate over youngsters and guns, with many people wondering what sort of parents would let a child handle a submachine gun.

Instructor Charles Vacca, 39, was standing next to the girl Monday at the Last Stop range in White Hills, Arizona, about 60 miles south of Las Vegas, when she squeezed the trigger. The recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, and Vacca was shot in the head.

Here are the gun rights people quoted in the article:

Two gun experts said Wednesday that what types of firearms a child can handle depend largely on the strength and experience of the child — though the notion of giving a 9-year-old a fully automatic Uzi made some queasy.

‘‘So much of it depends on the maturity of the child and the experience of the range officer,’’ said Joe Waldron, a shooting instructor and legislative director of the Washington State Rifle and Pistol Association.

Dave Workman, senior editor at thegunmag.com and a spokesman for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said it can be safe to let children shoot an automatic weapon if a properly trained adult is helping them hold it.

That they didn’t just say “A 9 year old shouldn’t be shooting an Uzi. That’s stupid.”  says where we stand in the US.

The new Kenmore and the new Rat

From the mid to late 1980s, I went to the old Rat in Kenmore Square many times. It was a great place for me for a few reasons:

  • it was close–I lived in the West Fenway
  • it had good music (on the punk end of rock mostly)
  • it was cheap–Friday night was usually $8 for three or four bands

The old Kenmore Square was a great place for a college student for similar reasons:

  • it was pretty close to NU and close to BU
  • it had cheap food, cheap records, cheap other stuff (Army-Navy)
  • it had a great variety of music–there were 4 or 5 clubs in Kenmore itself and at least another 5 within a few blocks

Now it’s a sterile, boring upscale place. But it’s going to have the Rat again:

Early next month, the spirit of the grungy basement bar will be revived at the luxury hotel when the Commonwealth unveils a suite in its honor. Memorabilia from the club will fill every nook and cranny of the 600-square-foot room: the mirror that hung in the Rat’s dressing room, covered with band stickers; the duct-taped keyboard that belonged to club mainstay Willie “Loco” Alexander; drumsticks signed by Marky Ramone; a Cars guitar pick. And, of course, a papier-mâché rat.

With a $40,000-plusdecorating budget and a rate that will set guests back$500 to $900 a night, the opulent suite will be a far cry from its gritty namesake.

There’s a famous quote by Marx: History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. I don’t think the first run of the Rat counts as a tragedy, but this certainly counts as farce.

Democracy will be back any time now

Gee, what a surprise:

Thailand’s junta leader, who seized power in a military coup three months ago, officially assumed his new post as prime minister on Monday following an endorsement from the country’s monarch.

Prayuth, who is expected to name his Cabinet next month, has said elections could be held in 2015. Prayuth has said the army had to stage the coup to end half a year of political deadlock between protesters and the government and to stop sporadic protest-related violence that had killed dozens of people.

I assume it’s  complete coincidence that this is exactly what one of the sides wanted (that would be the side that doesn’t like democracy because they can’t win an election). I also assume Prayuth isn’t even thinking of running for office if an election actually happens (the election will probably happen about the time that Prayuth is confident that he’ll win).

Volcano in Iceland

It seems the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland is now erupting. It is a subglacial eruption:

Both the thickness of the ice at the possible contact point (100-400 m) and the volume of lava in possible contact with ice are highly uncertain. It could be 0-20 hours before lava reaches the surface of the ice. It is also possible that the lava will not break through the ice, and the eruption could remain subglacial.

I guess I’m glad that I went there two months ago instead of now since a 2010 eruption stopped air travel for a week.

By the way, this


is not the volcano and this


is not the glacier it’s under.


The Boston Globe has articles about Arthur T and Arthur S. It seems that Arthur T is nice when it comes to his workers but not so nice when it comes to his cousin and members of the board, while Arthur S is fine with people not his workers. Here are the important bits:

He (Arthur T) joined the company board in 1974, just a year out of high school, and rose to president in 2008, winning the affection and loyalty of workers who credit him with fighting tight-fisted relatives to preserve strong wages, bonuses, and a retirement plan, while keeping prices low for customers.

In one memorable gesture, Arthur T. authorized the company to make up a $46 million loss sustained by employees’ profit-sharing fund during the 2008 financial meltdown.

There’s another important difference, from the employees’ perspective. Arthur S. favored sending more of the profits to shareholders, while Arthur T. has wanted to give more to employees through profit sharing.

I don’t know why the workers would much rather have Arthur T in charge and why they like him better.


As a follow up to this post, there’s this:

In late July, immigration officials stopped receiving and deporting women and children from the Artesia facility after a chicken pox quarantine. They resumed immigration removal flights to Central America on Aug. 7.

Since then, officials have deported 71 mothers and children from the Artesia center, said Leticia Zamarripa, a spokeswoman with Department of Homeland Security.

Immigration officials halted the intake and removals of detainees at the facility “out of an abundance of caution,” after a resident was diagnosed with chicken pox.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement takes the health, safety and welfare of those in our care seriously and is committed to ensuring that all ICE detainees receive timely and appropriate medical treatment,” Zamarripa said in a prepared statement.

It would be a shame if one of the children that was sent back to, perhaps, be killed had chicken pox.

Just so you know

Via here, everyone who’s pushing to send the children from Central America back now! should know this:

By the time Isaias Sosa turned 14, he’d already seen 15 bullet-riddled bodies laid out in his neighborhood of Cabañas, one of the most violent in this tropical metropolis. He rarely ventured outside his grandmother’s home, fortified with a wrought iron gate and concertina wire.

But what pushed him to act was the death of his pregnant cousin, who was gunned down in 2012 by street gang members at the neighborhood gym.

“There are many youngsters who only three days after they’ve been deported are killed, shot by a firearm,” said Hector Hernandez, who runs the morgue in San Pedro Sula. “They return just to die.”

At least five, perhaps as many as 10, of the 42 children slain here since February had been recently deported from the U.S., Hernandez said.

We’re sending children back to their death–is this a great country, or what?

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