Guardian.UK: Why we are sceptical of antidepressant analysis.

Of interest, after that last flurry of antidepressant-effectiveness articles in the news. From my perspective, these are not vitamins, but pills to be used in conjunction with talk therapy. Short duration, not lifetime deficit-fillers.

I remember too well the '90's, when we had serious discussions of whether salespeople (corporate) should be taking Prozac (whether they needed it or not). Because the mood brightening effect gave the benefit to the ones who 'used'.

Big Pharma loves that sort of thing.

CBS: Jennifer Lawrence says she dropped out of middle school.

I dropped out of middle school. I don't technically have a GED or a diploma. I am self-educated.

I find that very sad, that she felt she had to make the choice. Others have had tutors. Think of the literature she missed, that could inform her performances (not that they haven't been great). I would have followed up with a question about reading.

I was going to put this rant on Facebook ...

... but realized it was only an invitation for conflict, and noone would really have appreciated it anyway.


My favorite thing to do for people who believe 'more guns' is the answer, is to drive them to the graveyard in Cimarron, New Mexico. The original "Wild West." Often held up as some sort of John Wayne version of perfect American society. Well, here's that society, as reflected in the cemetery:

Everyone had guns.

And they shot everyone.

Men. Women. Children. Dear lord, they even SHOT THE TOWN PREACHER.

They shot so many, the graves are marked with rotting wood now. No time to make a stone. Probably no time to build a coffin. Plug 'em and plant 'em.

Prove that more guns help in America. Real-world example. Because I've got plenty of proof that it doesn't.

Laws were in place, laws didn't matter. Because when a person carries a gun, they carry a belief. They believe they carry absolute control. They hold in their hands judgment. They get to judge whether you live or die - for real. They become "God" and do the deciding for you. At that moment, all the laws in the world won't help you. Your life lies in the hammock of that gun holder's psyche. And that's not necessarily a safe place.

Another person with a gun won't necessarily help you.

When Gabby Giffords was shot, there was a concealed carry holder nearby. He didn't shoot, because he realized he couldn't discern who was the threat. He almost shot the man who disarmed the actual shooter. Not everyone today has that perspicacity; more have the Mel Gibson "Lethal Weapon" mindset. Shoot whoever's carrying, let God sort them out. And God help anyone behind the targets.

I have no interest in someone holding that power over me, or over any child I'm acquainted with. Even if a 'good person'. Every WWII veteran I ever met, told me when I was a kid: "You see a person with a gun, you get the hell away as fast as possible. Preferably with a large object between yourself and them. I don't care if it's a criminal or a cop. GET AWAY."

[I learned that the hard way. At the Institute for Defense Analysis demonstration in Princeton, Nixon sent soldiers with M-16's into our Murray-Aiken Avenue neighborhood. Similar to an AR-15. Imagine how many houses in a tight suburban neighborhood those projectiles would travel through. A neighborhood with a dozen or so children. (Oh, I absolutely adore Nixon. NOT.) And in Mexico, in the late 70's. I have a hole in my thigh, thanks to briefly choosing the wrong 'friends'. That changed in the splash of a ricochet. A flesh wound, but one that educated better than many a year in school.]

Training? Yeah, training. Works well in mythical training situations. In the real world? Look at the above example, and then at the recent Florida shooting. The guard.

I do feel sorry for that security guard in Florida, who it seems didn't respond. Choosing to insert yourself into the line of fire is similar to having a CPR rating. When you see a person lying on the floor convulsing, vomiting ... the thought of clamping your mouth over that mess takes some adjustment, mouthguard or not. Training is not reality. Not everyone knows how they'll respond when faced with the actual 'event'. The guard now has to live with his choice. And that is worse than any actual punishment anyone could dole out.

Hear me out. I have no problem with folks in Alaska needing an AR-15 - they face bears, wolverines and other beasts where they require such things. They hunt for food, they need a gun for protection against the wildlife. Nothing like being hunted yourself. Hell, I would want a bazooka against one of those humongous bears, if it were intent on making me dinner.

But a fool in Florida doesn't need one, unless he purposely hunts alligators in Speedos and pink plastic Crocs.

There has to be a sensible compromise, wherein everyone is safe without having to turn our America into dystopia.

Reengineer schools. Heavy duty doors, specialized locks. Or some other clever solutions to isolate and delay shooters while protecting our kids (our future!). We have the wits, we have the technology. We could build metal floors and hook them up to Tesla batteries and stun the gunman. There are a million ways we could do more, using America's best and brightest ideas. But don't add more weapons. Teachers lose their cool frequently during the school year. I remember more than a couple I wouldn't have wanted to see 'packing'. Too many opportunities for mistakes (safeties left off, guns bumped, kids dead). And students notice everything. They'll know who has the gun(s), and the next mass shooting will simply start with a kid taking a teacher out execution-style in the back of the head and THEN starting their rampage. Precious minutes before another teacher notices the noise. Arming teachers is NOT a solution. If I were a 'designated packer' in a school, I would imagine a giant target on my back, and make sure my school bought me the most expensive life insurance on the market.

The 24/7 news cycle is doing their best to disarm us over this, to get us bored with the usual knee-jerk reactions. Push us back into our respective aisles so they can get back to making their ad-impression profits. Better to simmer down, and calmly discuss how to get those people in Alaska their AR-15's, while not allowing automatic weapons in urban areas. The people who need guns as tools should have them, whereas the people who own them as fetishes should be limited, strictly and severely limited. Ignore the freaking NRA. They are irrelevant. Lobbyists. They represent manufacturers, not citizens. Their job is to drive you to buy more guns. You know that Remington just went bankrupt, right? No? Google it. I predict the NRA will throw bump stocks under the bus through Trump, while making as much entertaining noise as possible, but save the rest of the gun industry over "they're coming for your guns!" Because the Trump election destroyed the gun manufacturer's profit margins. Everyone relaxed after November. Sales plummeted. They are going to milk this school shooting for everything they can get, just as the left is going to push as hard as they can for their purpose.

Don't be a fool and fall for any this.

The Supreme Court's Heller decision is misguided. It runs against 200 years of jurisprudence - intentionally - because of the current fad of "originalist" interpretation for partisan purposes. The Right side of the the aisle loves to call "judicial activism" on modern jurisprudence, but that's actually what originalism is. It's dumping all - or as much as they can get away with - jurisprudence from the 1787 to today. All the adjustments and modifications to get laws to function in our modern world, in order to 'reset' the clock on Constitutional interpretation and start from scratch with their particular shade of partisanship. Exactly what was NOT supposed to happen.

Ask any of your black friends why this is a concern, if you don't understand it! They'll tell you. Slavery was still legal when the Constitution was written. So, from a supposedly-nonactivist originalist interpretation ... slavery should be legal. Not what the Supremes should be doing. More than taking gun rights back to militias and muskets (which originalism could do), that's why originalism is cracked. Revolutionary and activist as bloody hell. History matters more than you think, and just as important is who is feeding you that history.

Yeah, we're getting the rug pulled out from under us, and being told we'll feel better when our heads hit the floor. I'm already seeing stars from "States' rights only when convenient".

So much for conservative 'heroes'. Promises as pie crusts. But don't look to the other side for answers, either. The two-coast Dems, the "New Democrats", are still just as clueless, and still fighting for power. Still pushing Clintonist '90's minimal gun control ideas, so they can carry an NRA card and pretend to be 'one of the good ol' boys'. They can't seem to find a coherent platform for 2018 (other than the already-failed 'oppose Trump'), so it's left up to the rest of us to figure out how to insert some sense into America.

WE MUST GET LOBBYISTS OUT OF WASHINGTON.

A crazy idea: The gun lobby seems to believe Israel (under terrorist threat constantly) is a gun paradise. It is not. But let us use that impression - have the gun lobby compromise to meet the same standards we see taken in Israel. Their precautions are a far sight greater than our own, obviously work, and we'd all be the safer. It's the lobby's own fault if they never noticed Israel limits some shooters to 50 bullets a year [excluding those used at licensed ranges] ... that alone would significantly reduce the lethality of these unwelcome events that keep occurring, if we limited fetishists to that #.

Better than waiting around like a sitting duck.

//END OF RANT//

Hollywood Reporter: 'M*A*S*H' Oral History: Untold Stories From One of TV's Most Important Shows.

What strikes me is, how much slower we all talked back then. There was time to think before speaking. I notice the increase in speed required today, and am somewhat stunned. I am going to practice slowing down, purposefully, for a while. See how I'm received.

More than this, however - I recall how MASH went over right after 9/11. Noone wanted to see it. America had balled itself into a fist, and did not want to even contemplate the idea that all wars are a waste. To a certain degree, we all walked away from Hawkeye. At least for a while. The fact he's shown up here in my feed, is a good thing. Gives me hope.

Barn Finds: Restored Retro - 1977 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon.

Oh no ... THESE hideous things. From the year I graduated high school. Someone in my class was gifted one of these to go to college with (only affluenti got cars back then). Pintos should not be restored, IMHO. Like Mustang II and Chevy Vega, these should only be preserved as leetle tiny photos in car history books. "Remember these? Bad? Worse. You cannot imagine how horrible these cars were."

Massive oil leaks. Dangerous placement of gas tanks. Steel sleeves in aluminum engine blocks that failed suddenly, massively.

Fond memories, right? Yeah, like I want to tow one of these to the local car shows on the Plaza.

In These Times: While Democrats Call for Gun Control at Home, They Push Deadly Arms Deals Abroad.

As we have seen time and time and time again, U.S. arms shipments to Libya and Syria have “fallen into the hands” of jihadists groups. Even setting aside the billions of dollars in bombs and fighter jets the United States sells to human-rights abusing countries, the flooding of arms into warzones, regardless of how noble the intentions may be, frequently ends up fueling groups the U.S. State Department itself deems “terrorists.”

Covering old ground again! I'm getting terribly tired of pointing out that since Gulf War I, our military-industrial complex has been too gleeful with weapons sales, to a level not seen in previous decades. Look at anyone branded as 'terrorist' in the news, and they're more likely today to be carrying an American-made weapon than ever before. Used to be all you saw was old Mosin-Nagants and AK-47's. Now you see way too many AR-15 variants. Ever thought about it? You should. 

Reuters: U.S. gun lobby slams anti-gun 'elites' after Florida school massacre.

Oh, waaaa-waaaa-waaaa. Bawling like babies. What elites? All I've seen is kids. Think that we'll be safe with everyone packing? Let me drive you to Cimarron, New Mexico. To the graveyard. What's left of those who lived here in the days of the "Wild West." They shot men. They shot women. They shot children. For heaven's sake, they even shot the town PREACHER.

Tell me how 'more guns' is better. Better yet, show me how it will be different than the real-world example of Cimarron.

NY Mag/Selectall: ‘Trending’ on Social Media Is Worthless

The first problem with “trending” is that it selects and highlights content with no eye toward accuracy, or quality.

Opportunity for another old dangerousmeta-ism ... 'hits have no polarity'. A view can be either positive or negative, and you won't know why the raw view actually came. So how can anyone say a particular wag has 'a million views', knowing that your audience will believe those are positive, supportive views?

So we use 'trending'. Because the people who measure stats have spent neither the time nor the effort to figure this one out. "Mature codebase rot."

Esquire: At CNN Gun Town Hall Debate High School Students Were More Prepared Than Marco Rubio and the NRA.

Parents, what would you do if your child lectured and ridiculed a U.S. Senator on national television?

If they deserved it? Pizza night. Dinner and a movie. Unlimited internet. New wardrobe. Our mealy-mouthed Legislators need a comeuppance. The college students couldn't do it, but America's high schoolers are stepping up.