The Mechanical Cow

February 24, 2018

“The Mechanical Cow,” with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, 1927. Animated by Ub Iwerks and the Disney Oswald staff.

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Trump School Safety Plan

February 23, 2018

Trump School Safety Plan
After last week’s tragic shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, President Trump determined how to stop  further school shootings: give teachers guns. The idea was met with horror and roundly condemned by the teachers’ union, law enforcement, military veterans, individual teachers, and students.

Mr. Trump claims that 20% of K-12 teachers are military veterans, but the number is closer to 1%. The president says that “gun-adept” teacher vets should get a “small bonus” for packing heat in the classroom, and claims he can find the money to do so, at a time when teachers have to pay for student supplies out of their own pockets.

More:

Want to know why arming instructors is a bad idea? Hear from a former teacher,”  Monica Rhor, Houston Chronicle 

“What happens to teaching and learning if educators holster 9mm Glocks on their waistbands?” Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

“’No way’: Three teachers explain why Trump’s proposal to arm teachers won’t work,” Heather Timmons and Caitlin Hu, Quartz

“Gov. Rick Scott opposed to arming teachers with firearms.” Jeffrey Solochek, Tampa Bay Times

“Former RNC chair: Trump suggestion to arm teachers is ‘delusional.’” Brandon Carter, The Hill

“Trump Blames Gun-Free Zones for School Shootings, Echoing Myth Spread by NRA,” Robert Mackey, The Intercept

“Trump’s push to arm teachers gives the NRA what it wants and highlights GOP radicalization,” James Hohmann, Washington Post

“Arming teachers isn’t just a ridiculous idea. It’s a deliberate distraction.” German Lopez, Vox

Related:

“5 Ways the Trump Budget Undermines Gun Violence Prevention and School Safety Efforts,” Chelsea Parsons and Scott Sargrad, Center for American Progress

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Top image (“School Supplies”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The World at Night

February 23, 2018

NASA has released a new map of the earth at night. The clickable, zoomable version is here.

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Us versus Them

February 22, 2018

Immigration, Empathy and Psychology. Written by Teagan Wall; animated, and hosted by Vanessa Hill. Produced by BrainCraft for PBS Digital Studios.

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NRA speaks 7 Days After Florida School Shooting

February 21, 2018

NRA to speak 7 Days After Florida School Shooting
The National Rifle Association has been silent on Twitter since the Parkland school shooting, but NRA VP Wayne LaPierre is listed as a speaker at this week’s Comic-Con for Conservatives, the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference. CPAC is being held at the Gaylord Convention Center at National Harbor, near DC but closer to a casino. While Mr. LaPierre is a staunch foe of gun-free zones, the Gaylord is one.

Wayne LaPierre isn’t on the CPAC agenda, but since the NRA is CPAC’s biggest sponsor and the biggest donor to GOP campaigns, he’s certain to deliver his usual demagoguery. There’s a half-hour slot on Thursday’s agenda at 10 AM marked “Special Programming,” so that’s our bet. Mike Pence will bless the gathered wingnuts afterwards, at 10:30.

The rest of the 2018 CPAC is a cavalcade of conservative celebs, not just The Apprentice‘s Donald Trump, but disgraced former Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., talk radio ranters Dana Loesch and Mark Levin, Fox flakes Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, and Sebastian Gorka, and that guy from Pawn Stars.

But CPAC 2018 is not all “America First.” France’s holocaust denier and National Front pin-up person Mademoiselle Marion Maréchal-Le Pen and the UK Independence Party spokesmodel, and Brexiteer Nigel Farage will add European élan to the conservative conclave.

More:

“Less Intellectual and More Salacious”: Commercialized, Trumpified, CPAC Is Adrift.” Tina Nguyen, Vanity Fair

Related:

“Five types of gun laws the Founding Fathers loved,” Saul Cornell, The Conversation

“The NRA’s step-by-step playbook for responding to a mass shooting,” Heather Timmons, Quartz

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Ocean Acidification: A Crash Course

February 20, 2018

As the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it’s becoming more acidic—eroding the shells of marine life vital to the food web. Jim Toomey illustrates the issues. Produced by the Pew Trusts.

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‘America’s Rifle,’ American Carnage

February 19, 2018

'America's Rifle,' American Carnage

In the February 14th school shooting in Parkland Florida, 17 people were killed with an AR-15 type rifle, legally purchased by an 18-year-old American citizen too young to legally buy beer. It has long been known that the assault-style AR-15, which the NRA calls “America’s Rifle,” is the mass killer’s weapon of choice. After an assault-style weapon killed 5 children at a school in Stockton California in 1994, Congress passed a ban on the civilian sale of semi-automatic assault-style firearms and high-capacity magazines, but the law was allowed to expire in 2004. Since then, such massacres have increased 183 percent with a 239 percent increase in massacre deaths.

After 2004, U.S. gun manufacturers re-branded variants of the military-derived AR-15 as the “Modern Sporting Rifle” even though the gun is terrible for hunting. It was designed to do maximum damage to the human body. Just ask Dean L. Winslow, MD.

It’s not just this Florida school shooting. Assault-style rifles have been used in recent mass killings in Aurora Colorado (22 dead), Newtown Connecticut (26 dead), Santa Monica California (6 dead), Colorado Springs (3 dead), San Bernardino (14 dead), Orlando (49 dead), Las Vegas Nevada (58 dead), Roseburg Oregon (9 dead), and Sutherland Springs Texas (26 dead).

Is it time to bring back the assault weapon ban? The surviving students at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School seem to think so. The Second Amendment shouldn’t be a suicide pact. The Founding Fathers never saw an AR-15.

More:

“The AR-15: ‘America’s rifle’ or illegitimate killing machine?” Marc Fisher, Washington Post

“Mass shootings are getting deadlier. And the latest ones all have something new in common: The AR-15,” Matt Pearce, Lost Angeles Times

“Nothing in the Constitution Prevents Sensible Gun Rules,” Cass R. Sunstein, Bloomberg

“Laws we used to have on the books could have prevented the Florida school shooting,” Robert J. Spitzer, Washington Post

“No one becomes a mass shooter without a mass-shooting gun,” George Skelton, Los Angeles Times

“Top GOP Donor Cuts Off Opponents of Assault Weapon Ban,” Chas Danner, New York Magazine

“Shooting survivors to press for gun control,” AP via ABC News

“Florida school shooting: Students demand tighter gun controls,” BBC News

“Florida high school superintendent shares calls for ‘commonsense gun laws,’” Josh Delk, The Hill

“Florida massacre: Broward Sheriff Scott Israel’s plea for gun control,” Kyle Swenson, Washington Post

“Ex-CIA chief: Congress must act now to block access to semiautomatic weapons,” Jacqueline Thomsen, The Hill

“A Republican Governor Just Called for a Ban on Assault Weapons,” Dan Friedman, Mother Jones

“At vigil for Florida shooting victims, students who survived the attack chant, ‘No more guns!'” Catherine Garcia, The Week

“Stoneman Douglas survivors are emerging as the sanest voices on gun control,” Karen Hao, Quartz

“Murdoch’s New York Post shifts on assault-weapons ban, after Florida school shooting,” Callum Borchers, Washington Post

“All the things Fox News blamed the Parkland shooting on other than the gun,” Adam Epstein, Quartz

“Florida students protest Trump, NRA,” Morgan Gstalter, The Hill

“Surviving Teens of Parkland Massacre Tell NRA to Shove Its ‘Thoughts and Prayers,’ and Plan March on Washington,” Angela Helm, The Root

“Shooting survivor to NRA: ‘Don’t you dare come back here,’” Rebecca Savransky, The Hill

“Shooting suspect was on school rifle team that got NRA grant,” Michael Biesecker and Collin Binkley, Associated Press

“Outside NRA headquarters, hundreds gather in vigil and protest,” Clarence Williams, Washington Post

“NRA Goes Quiet on Twitter, Just Like After Previous Mass Shootings,” Matt Novak, Gismodo

“FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump,” Peter Stone and Greg Gordon, McClatchy News

“NRA contributions: how much money is spent on lawmakers?” Lauren Gambino, The Guardian

“Have your representatives in Congress received donations from the NRA?” Aaron Williams, Washington Post

“Lawmakers use campaign funds for NRA dues,” Ben Wieder, McClatchy News

“The NRA’s step-by-step playbook for responding to a mass shooting,” Heather Timmons, Quartz

Updates:

“Five types of gun laws the Founding Fathers loved,” Saul Cornell, The Conversation

“Florida shooting survivor: We should call AR-15s ‘Marco Rubio’ because they’re both easy to buy,” Brandon Carter, The Hill

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Image (“Old Glory”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Dixie Chicken

February 18, 2018

“Dixie Chicken,” written by Lowell George and Fred Martin (Martin Kibbee), performed by Little Feat, with Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, and Jesse Winchester, 1977.  Lead singer Lowell George died two years later.

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Someone to Fulfill My Needs

February 18, 2018

“Someone to Fulfill My Needs,” by Miami’s Moovers (Robert Thomas, Tucker Woodrow, Clemmons Norris, Norris Hill, Jimmy Hartfield), with Nathaniel “Snoopy” Dean on guitar and Jimmy Harrell on drums.

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Petite fille de français moyen

February 18, 2018

“Petite fille de français moyen,” composed by Claude Carrère with lyrics by Jacques Monty and Georges Aber, performed by Sheila for Scopitone. These short films were back-projected on a small screen mounted on a “visual jukebox.”

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