Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Few Notes on a Soft City Opaque Night and The Great Gatsby's Always Beckoning Green Light

Overcast, gloomy, pleasantly cool dusk at the intersection of 16th and U Streets and New Hampshire Avenue NW, 6:16PM February 23, 2018.

My apartment building is visible in this blurry image (on the right behind the tree in the foreground).

Actually, I found in this image just a hint of the iconic Francis Cugat cover art for the original 1925 edition of The Great Gatsby.

OK, there's no pair of sad female eyes shedding a tear hovering over the image, but still, for me there was something about the street lights and the color of opaque blue-gray of the sky.

Of course, the green light at the end of the dock is The Great Gatsby is the most signifying and significant of the story.


Just a very brief update.

I'm still feeling under the weather with a persistent head cold / congestion and sore and scratchy throat -- and gravelly, hoarse voice.

However, despite feeling so lousy from the neck up, I feel mostly fine through the rest of me -- so I went to work earlier today (well, now yesterday) and to the gym tonight, although I skipped the treadmill and just weightlifted and went into the pool.

I intend to post another entry later today -- including discussing a bit about the weather and not omitting the story about the remarkable late winter warmth in the High Arctic to include temps at or a bit above freezing at the geographic North Pole. The CWG has this informative entry about it.

There is also a few other things I want to relate including, of course, the ghastly details of the horrendous political temper of our times. But I'm signing off for now.


Monday, February 26, 2018

Reposted: Jerry Adler's Column "Jefferson's 'Tree of Liberty' and the Blood of Schoolchildren"

The story of this deeply poignant picture by Pia Guerra is here. Aaron Feis was one of the 17 killed in the Parkland massacre on Feb. 14th -- dying trying to protect school children from the bullets of an AR-15.

Of note, today Trump said he would have run into the building and disarmed the shooter with his bare hands. Believe him.

Below is column by Jerry Adler of Yahoo News that I would like to repost in full -- but minus the embedded links and interspersed with some topically-related images and editorial cartoons.



Jefferson's 'tree of liberty' and the blood of schoolchildren

Jerry Adler
Senior Editor, Yahoo News
February 25, 2018
Source link here.

On the second day of the Republican National Convention, Ohio Minutemen gather in downtown Cleveland to express their feeling on the Second Amendment in Cleveland, July 18, 2016. (Photo: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Like all Americans, I have a Second Amendment right to own a firearm. I may not choose to exercise it, but the Supreme Court, in the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, is pretty clear on the subject. I don’t even need to be part of a militia, which is good, because I wouldn’t know how to join one.

So I accept gun ownership, in principle, as part of my birthright, and acknowledge that the same rights accrue to people who might, for one reason or another, hate me. As journalist Mickey Kaus once wrote, if liberals interpreted the Second Amendment the way they interpret the rest of the Bill of Rights, there would be law professors arguing that gun ownership is mandatory.

Why would I need one, though, except to commit a crime? Why does anyone?

For hunting, obviously. Although I do not hunt, I recognize it as essentially harmless, except to the animals who are killed, and to people who get shot by mistake, including occasionally the hunters themselves. But shotguns and single-shot rifles are rarely used in crimes and I know of no serious proposals to ban them.

For target shooting, as a sport. I have done this, and I enjoyed it. Encouraging better marksmanship is a worthy national goal, and if we keep it up, the U.S. Olympic team might hope to someday win a medal in biathlon.

For personal defense. I consider myself an expert in this field, having lived in New York City my whole life, including some years in the 1970s when I would go home on the subway after leaving work at 1 a.m. There were occasions when I wished I had a handgun, but with the benefit of reflection, it’s obviously a million times better that I didn’t, for me as well as for all the obnoxious drunks who nearly threw up on my shoes.

Having survived to this point, I am content to entrust my safety to the very excellent protection of the NYPD, but I also recognize that other Americans, in different circumstances, might come to a different conclusion.

If -- hopefully, after weighing the dangers of a handgun being found by a child, or fired by accident, or used to commit suicide or murder a family member during an argument -- a competent adult decides he or she needs one, then by a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court, they have that right.

But the subject on everyone’s mind now is not handguns but rifles, in particular assault-style rifles such as the AR-15, which are the weapon of choice in random mass shootings such as the recent ones in Parkland, Fla., Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Las Vegas. Why would a law-abiding American citizen want to own one of those?

To wage war against the government. There are many contenders for the worst ideas to emerge in the wake of the Parkland massacre, but I’d like to nominate this column by National Review writer David French -- the same guy whose name was briefly floated as a sane conservative third-party alternative to Donald Trump in 2016.

French argued against banning semiautomatic assault-style rifles on the grounds that we might need them to fight a reprise of the American Revolution. After all, you can’t take on the United States military with guns meant to shoot ducks and paper targets.

French acknowledges that ordinary citizens wouldn't stand much of a chance against the 101st Airborne, but, he writes: "For the Second Amendment to remain a meaningful check on state power, citizens must be able to possess the kinds and categories of weapons that can at least deter state overreach, that would make true authoritarianism too costly to attempt."

And: "To properly defend life and liberty, access to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines isn’t a luxury; it's a necessity."

The idea that Americans should arm themselves to fight "state overreach" is a staple of gun-rights groups and politicians occupying the political terrain that runs rightward roughly from the NRA to the edge of the earth.

It goes back at least to Thomas Jefferson, who wrote that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with blood of patriots and tyrants.” In 2010, Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle notoriously floated the idea of "Second Amendment remedies" against Congress.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz invoked it in a 2015 fundraising email, which prompted Sen. Lindsey Graham to respond tartly that “we tried that once in South Carolina.” In view of how the Civil War turned out for the Confederacy, “I wouldn’t go down that road again.”

Indeed. If Cruz is seriously concerned about having to fight "governmental tyranny," he might want to reconsider his support of President Trump's military buildup, which could only make it harder. As long ago as the 1950s, when there were mutterings in the South about renewing the hostilities that were suspended at Appomattox, Louisiana Gov. Earl K. Long taunted the arch-segregationist political boss Leander Perez: "What are you going to do now, Leander? The Feds have got the atom bomb."

Well, one solution would be to get your own atom bomb. As far as I can tell, no one is seriously asserting that the Second Amendment conveys a private right to own nuclear weapons -- not even the National Rifle Association, probably not even Gun Owners of America, a group composed of people who consider the NRA insufficiently zealous and which claims 1.5 million members. The group does, however, seek to legalize machine guns, which would at least slightly improve the odds of going up against the Marine Corps.

A lot of this is just posturing, of course: The NRA's key stakeholders are gun companies, and it serves their interests to hype the threat that "jack-booted government thugs" are coming to arrest grandma and confiscate her derringer.

The NRA's Dana Loesch made news last week with a claim that the mass media "loves" mass shootings because of the ratings they bring. Leaving the despicable nature of the charge aside, it is a fact that publicized incidents of gun violence have benefited the firearms industry by spurring sales to patriots scared that this time Nancy Pelosi really is coming to take away their guns.

Remington filed for bankruptcy this month amid a general slump in gun sales that set in right after the 2016 election, when gun owners could relax in the knowledge that Hillary Clinton’s evil designs on the Second Amendment had been thwarted.

But quite a few Americans apparently agree with French on the danger that Washington might someday decide to pick up where George III left off and reimpose the Stamp Act or force Americans to quarter troops in their homes. Banding together in militias like the so-called Three Percenter movement, they are preparing to meet that threat with AR-15s.

Members of self-described patriot groups and militias run through close-quarter combat shooting drills during a Three Percenter United Patriots’ field training exercise, which they describe as the largest patriot event in the country, outside Fountain, Colo., July 29, 2017. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

Of course, the same qualities that make assault-style rifles so precious to self-appointed defenders of American freedom also make them the weapon of choice for those who want to kill as many schoolchildren as possible. A ban on the sale of these weapons took effect in 1994, with a 10-year sunset provision. After it expired in 2004, it was not renewed. There is little evidence that the ban did much to reduce gun violence, or even reduce sales of the weapons it was meant to control.

With minor modifications in design, functionally equivalent variants of the AR-15 slipped through the cracks. The chances of the same ban being reinstated now are probably nil, in a political climate in which Donald Trump's first instinct after the Parkland shooting was to call for arming schoolteachers so they could shoot back. In a Saturday interview, Trump went further and suggested raising the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21. Trump confidently predicted that the NRA would go along with the new age requirement, which the group has long opposed.

The NRA has informed Trump that he's mistaken.

One way to achieve at least some of the benefits of banning assault weapons would be to limit the number of bullets they can hold. The gun-control organization Sandy Hook Promise is circulating a petition for a law to ban rifle magazines holding more than 10 rounds, forcing shooters to stop to reload more often.

The young man who shot up Sandy Hook elementary school carried 30-round magazines, but even so, according to Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan died in the attack, 11 children managed to escape in the seconds it took him to swap in a new one. If Trump seriously believes in arming teachers, limiting magazine size should be a change he supports, because even if they managed to draw their handguns, their only hope of standing up to a gunman firing off an AR-15 is to wait for him to reload.

I predict that assault-style rifles will be around for the foreseeable future, and I suspect one will be used again, sooner or later, to slaughter Americans in a church or office or school. And -- call me naïve -- but I would much sooner entrust my freedom to America’s justice system, which is also part of the Constitution, than to a bunch of middle-aged guys running around the woods in camo pants, no matter what kinds of guns they have.

I hope I am never forced to put my life on the line to defend liberty, and if it should happen, I hope I have the courage to do so. But that's not a risk I would take with the life of someone else’s child.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Jukebox Saturday Night for February 24th, 2018: Taking a Chance, Thinking of You, Rock DJ, and Break My Stride Edition

OK, let's start out with a nice old piece by a very talented singer and actress ...

"Taking a Chance On Love" by Ethel Waters as performed in the movie "Cabin the Sky" (1943)

The song was written by Vernon Duke with lyrics by John La Touche and Ted Fetter. It was published in 1940 and was first featured in the Broadway musical Cabin the Sky with its first-ever all-black cast. This YouTube clip actually is from the 1943 movie version of Cabin in the Sky. About the movie, the Keeper of All Knowledge explains it thusly:

"Cabin in the Sky" is a 1943 American musical film based on the 1940 stage musical of the same name. Directed by Vincente Minnelli, the film stars Ethel Waters and Rex Ingram, who reprised their roles from the Broadway production, as well Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson and Lena Horne. It was Horne's first and only leading role in an MGM musical.

Louis Armstrong was also featured in the film as one of Lucifer Junior's minions, and Duke Ellington and his Orchestra have a showcase musical number in the film.

Cast of "Cabin in the Sky" movie from left to right: Ethel Waters, Kenneth Spencer, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Lena Horne, and Rex Ingram.

This TCM site has some interesting info about the intrigue before and during production -- including Waters on why she originally rejected the role of Petunia Jackson in the movie version.

Also, just FYI, I got the idea to feature this song from Bryan Wright's most recent Shellac Stack show -- Show No. 111 -- as he featured a better-quality studio version of it. Of note, Bryan's show #111 is an especially good one, and I recommend listening to it.


Next up, something nice from Janet Jackson ...

"When I Think of You" by Janet Jackson from her album Control (1986)

Ms. Jackson is an incredibly talented singer and performer who has given the world so much wonderful music.

I still feel badly for her about the Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" nonsense in Feb. 2004 that so damaged her career -- especially since Justin Timberlake just threw her under the bus while suffering no adverse career effects (even starring in the 2018 Super Bowl halftime show).

Recall that the GOP media/entertainment agitprop machine as it existed then swung wildly into action to make political hay out of it for Bush and their side in general. 

Naturally, the shitty and useless mainstream media played along to create a manufactured hysteria not seen since the most recent Red Scare. Of particular offense to me was Rush the Vulgar Lying Pigboy Limbaugh's reaction. Limbaugh -- then at his Peak Pig of influence -- pretended to be morally horrified -- going on endlessly on his radio show about how his drug-addled, thrice-married, closet bisexual sensibilities were so deeply shocked, and trying to tie it into cheap political propaganda grist.


Next up, something really Saturday night upbeat ...

"Rock DJ" by Robbie Williams from his Sing When You're Winning album (2000)

I've wanted to feature this song for a while as I love the music and the lyrics. The trouble is, I just don't like the official video, which you can watch here. It features Williams up on a dance floor platform surrounded by beautiful female models first taking off his clothes and then pealing off his skin and throwing his organs. I find it quite gross, and don't want to feature it here. But the song is just primo in every other way.


Now since I didn't feature a Jukebox Saturday Night entry last week, I'd like to have an extra song ...

"Break My Stride" by Matthew Wilder (performing live) from his I Don't Speak the Language album (1983)

I've featured this one before in this Jukebox Saturday Night entry but I just like the song so much. As for Wilder, he sort of looks like my dad did at times back in the early 1980s with the very curly hair and mustache.

OK, that's all for now. My plan is to post an update later tonight rather than trying to get it posted prior to midnight.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Recapping This Week's Would-Be Rainfall and Record Warmth and Brief Update For Me Plus Perry, Della, and Little Leander

Tropical beach, Havelock Island Ritchie’s Archipelago, Andaman Islands, April 2014; photo by Vikramjit Kakati.


Well, as usual, we're being screwed out of the chance for any meaningful and helpful rainfall -- while all those crummy, would-rather-die-than-even-visit places in the Midwest and Mississippi River/ Ohio River valleys are getting flooding rains.

The WPC QPF from three days ago on Feb. 20, 2018 showed a seven-day precipitation total of 1.0 to 1.5 inches ending Feb. 27, 2018 across the extended Metro D.C. area.

We are half way through that and, to date, KDCA has recorded a grand total of 0.06 inches -- and the current three-day QPF through 0Z Feb. 27th is down to 0.25 inches.

Undoubtedly, it will soon piss out to zero. These stupid QPF maps NEVER verify in that they always severely over-predict precipitation.

WPC 3-day cumulative precipitation for the Lower 48 valid 0Z February 24 - 0Z February 27, 2018.

This will drop off, of course, to zero for D.C. by the time we get to 0Z February 27th.


I was going to write a lengthier entry but now I don't feel like it. Below, though, is an update that I had started two nights ago (on Wednesday night) and then tried to continue last night -- when, instead, I posted this entry.

I'm supposed to meet Mike G this evening for dinner before he heads to a concert at Black Cat.

Historic gallows, Viper Island, Andaman Island, December 2013; photo by Sanyam Bahga


As an update (written on Wednesday and Thursday nights) ...

I'm home now after a gym visit and following a slow work day. I've been in a rather slow period and that is worrying.

The weather is dramatically cooler, softly overcast, but otherwise quiet with the 11PM air temp of 44F (at KDCA). The incredible February heat of yesterday has ended -- but what a heat it was with KIAD setting an all-time monthly record of 80F while KDCA reached 82F, a daily record and the second highest ever recorded in February (and tied for the hottest ever at KDCA itself since the 1930 record is a pre-National Airport one).

I intend to post a separate entry on the abnormally warm weather.

Map of record high temperatures for the US through 20UTC February 21, 2018 as created by CoolWx.com.

It's difficult to see, but the "warm" different color circles indicate whether a daily high temperature was (yellow) within 3F of a daily record high; (orange) tied a daily record high; (orange-red) broke a daily record); (magenta) tied/broke a monthly record high; and (purple) broke an all-time record high.

The corresponding "cool" colors are for the same -- but for low temperatures.


Of note, on Wednesday, Feb. 21st, KDCA reached 82F -- the tied for the second-highest temp ever in February (behind the pre-National Airport record of 84F on February 25, 1930) -- and tied for the highest-ever in the National Airport period (since the previous 82F was on February 28, 1948 -- and that was also the previous time it ever hit 80F or higher on a February day).

KIAD -- which has a record going back only to 1960 -- reached 80F, a new all-time February record, surpassing the 79F reading it set twice (on 2/25/2000 and 2/24/1985), and it had an all-time warm low for February at 59F.

KBWI reached 79F, a daily record high.

As a personal update ...

As for last night (Wednesday night), I should note that I actually had a very pleasant night last night after work on a non-gym night, stopping for a good dinner and a few drinks (a beer and a wine) at Harry's Pub. The food there is really good (at least the pork chops, baked potato, and mixed roasted veggies that I had). I then walked home.

Once I got home, though, I was too tired to post anything when I got home. More to the point, when I got home, I just wanted to watch old TV shows on MeTV without even attempting to write some big, complicated, ultimately pointless entry describing the latest atrocities and ongoing vulgarities of this Trump/GOP World vicious reality.

Yes, I fiddled around a bit online to no particular purpose, but then signed off and just watched TV in my wee apartment from my bed-on-the-floor, lights out and window air conditioner on. Yes, I most definitely had the window a/c turned on, and it works quite well.

The Perry Mason episode was a "The Case of the Borrowed Baby." Barbara Hale got to show off her character Della Street's strong maternal instincts and knowledge and even, yes, hint of sadness at not being married with her own. Of course, in real life, Barbara Hall had three children -- including future actor William Katt.

I tried to find who was in the role of the baby "Leander." He looked more like a toddler made up as an infant rather than a newborn, or he could just have been quite a large baby. Regardless, I could not find the person's name. He would be 56 years old today (if born in February 1962, when the episode aired/took place).

OK, that's all for now. I'm going to try to post an entry tomorrow (Friday) but it might not be until Saturday evening.


The United States of High-Powered Firearms in the Time of Trump: The NRA's Brutal Death-Grip Chronicles and the Glimmer of a New Hope

**This entry was posted February 23, 2018.**

I've been reluctant to do any blog entry deep dive into the ongoing media-facilitated national passion play about the ocean of high-powered firearms and other instruments of mass slaughter that fill this country that is occurring as a result of the latest mass school slaughter of 17 students and facility this past February 14th, St. Valentine's Day, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Montage of the 17 people killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.


But I suppose I should say a few things.

Yesterday's (Wednesday's) event at the White House -- billed as a "listening session on the part of Trump (now that WOULD have been a first) in which family members of those killed in the school killing and even survivors expressed their feelings and concerns -- was suitably Trumpian.

It featured a zombie-eyed Trump (see image directly above) sitting there in a daze, holding a sheaf of papers with handwritten notes representing his talking points. The notes were so large that the assembled media were able to focus their cameras on the words written on the page.

Trump meets with in the White House with survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, February 21, 2018.


Andrew Pollack -- who whose daughter, Meadow, 18, was among the fatalities, and is, by the way, a Trump supporter -- was a compelling figure in his comments about why does this continue to happen in the U.S. over and over again, and how angry he is -- and that he can now only visit his daughter in the cemetery.

Screenshot of Andrew Pollack at the White House, 4:44PM February 21, 2018.


However, I just don't understand his contention that the effort to "fix the schools" so that they are safe is wholly divorced from any connection to America's fire arms fetish, all 300 million of them. To go down this path is to accept the logic of the NRA's solution -- namely, arming everybody (see below) -- is a sickly perverted, and wholly unacceptable reality.

Andrew Pollack and his daughter Meadow.


Of course, Trump being Trump, he also suggested that every teacher in the United States carry their own personal cache of AR-15s and other such devices in the classroom, such is Dear Leader's brilliance. Today, during his morning "Executive Time," Trump denied he ever specifically said such a thing -- except he went on to advocate exactly that (more on that below).

As an interjection here ...

Yes, yes, we know that "AR" means "Armalite Rifle" (or ArmaLite Rifle) and not "automatic rifle" or "assault rifle" -- this is, apparently, a VERY big thing with firearms fanatics when it comes to the effete bicoastal transgendered socialists and brie-eating snobs who would take away their weaponry since it somehow "proves" there's no such things as "assault rifles" or even "assault weaponry."

This is the level of American gun culture discourse. 

Andrew Pollack holding a smartphone with a picture of his daughter on February 14, 2018 -- shortly before he found out that his daughter had, in fact, been killed.

No, no comment on the t-shirt.


Today (Thursday), Trump "developed" this notion in a series of Executive Time tweets about "hardening" schools that included the idea that teachers get "bonuses" for carrying their own weapons arsenal. To be clear, Trump, lacking the mental capability of any sort of policy thought, didn't "develop" this thought but rather was just parroting what the NRA leadership -- probably LaPierre himself -- said to him.

Trump clutches his crib-notes to the Florida mass shooting survivors at the White House on Feb. 21, 2018.


Also Trump being Trump, this past weekend, he tweet-stormed that the FBI dropped the ball on stopping the killer -- 17-year old Nikolas Cruz -- because it was spending "too much time trying to prove Russian collusion," resulting in it having "missed all of the many signals" ahead of time.

Julia Cordover, one of the survivors of the mass shooting, and Trump at the White House, February 21, 2018.


As for the big CNN town hall event last night featuring victims, family members, law enforcement, and the NRA spokes-demon held in Sunrise, Florida, Vox.com provides a good summary of it here.

Sen. Marco Rubio and Fred Guttenberg at the CNN town hall, Feb. 21, 2018 in a split screenshot.


Of note, Sen. Marco Rubio -- the good and the great GOP Hispanic Hope from the State of Florida -- was there, as was his Democratic counterpart Sen. Bill Nelson. Let me just say that while most Republican pols are amoral smash-and-grab crazies living in their own epistemologically-sealed rightwing infotainment bubble (Fox News, Breitbart, hate radio, Russian twitter bot-fed lies, etc.), Marco Rubio is a special brand of pathetic pussy.

I mention this because Rubio's pussiness, fecklessness, and all around rightwing vapidity was on display in his exchange with Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaimie, 14, was among those killed. He effectively told Rubio what a worthless political leader and empty sack he is. Of course, Rubio is too stupid and compromised for any of that to process.

For its part, the NRA -- whose usual strategy is keep ducked and covered until the "initial shock" of the most recent mass shooting "wears off" and then goes back about its business of being half international arms merchant and half terrorist cult with GOP pols as its puppets -- is clearly feeling some pressure in the current national psychodrama since the trauma and desire to "do something" by way of controlling these weapons of mass death is cutting quite broadly across the U.S.

In what is being described as a "lashing out," NRA CEO and quasi-human reptile Wayne LaPierre made hissing noises at the annual Nazi-Con event of CPAC taking place this week in D.C. (or rather, at National Harbor in Maryland).

This being our American paranoid idiocracy where Andrew Jackson is still the spiritual leader, the big rightwing talking point / conspiracy-theory is that the entire Florida massacre was somehow staged, or at least that the students now talking to the media are "crisis actors" who parachute into various situations in an attempt to get Democrats elected and steal guns from two key GOP base constituencies: angry townhouse-dwelling, exurban whites and their Third World-like impoverished, rural counterparts.

David Hogg and his mother, Rebecca Boldrick, in a media interview, February 2018.

Hogg is a survivor of the mass shooting -- and is now a target of the  rightwing smear and hate perpetual motion machine.


It is being facilitated by Breitbart media agitators and, once again, Russian trolls. This is how you end up with uniquely American conspiracy theories ("liked" on social media by Trump's sociopathic son Donald Trump Jr.) and resulting death threats against high school students such as David Hogg who just survived a massacre barely a week ago and who has emerged as a compelling advocate for controlling these weapons of mass slaughter.

The fundamental moral obscenity of this aside, always keep this in mind: Always remember: Whatever the Right -- taken in its collective hydra sense -- is accusing others of doing, that is precisely the thing it itself is doing.

But I think it must be pointed out that the spontaneous eruption of activism and protest by high school students not just from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this past weekend at the Tallahassee state capitol building, but all around the United States in the wake of the killing deeply confused and scared the Right. This ties into what I wrote above about how broad is the desire (at least for now) to do something about these weapons of mass killing.

The result is an even more fevered-paranoid reaction than usual on the right -- and in the present era of social media, it is being facilitated, of course, by Putin's armies of Russian bot trolls on social media.

Charlie Pierce wrote this nice piece about the high school activism that is worth a read.

Speaking of Charlie Pierce, he also wrote this piece on the CNN town hall event: Some Thoughts on Marco Rubio, Dana Loesch, and the Parents of Murdered Students.

I love the reference to Florida Gov. Rick Scott -- who did not show up at the event -- as "Governor Bat Boy." (That's a reference to one of the most famous covers of the now-defunct Weekly World News tabloid with its always-fictitious supernatural-themed lead story.) But Pierce is at his best deconstructing the NRA-Spokes-Demon Dana Loesch.

After noting Loesch's bizarre retort to a question about how when the Second Amendment was drafted, there were only muskets -- not high-powered weapons of mass slaughter, namely:

"At the time, there were fully-automatic firearms that were available, the Belton gun and the Puckle gun."

What kind of an omadhaun throws out historical trivia -- and inaccurate historical trivia at that -- to win a minor debating point over a teacher who a week ago saw her students slaughtered in front of her?

Returning to LaPierre (pictured left earlier today at CPAC), given his role vis-à-vis the Republican Party as ideological shock-troop leader who stokes the hoards of angry white shut-ins that are a key part of the GOP base, it was no surprise he was there (he usually is).

But it also meant that Loesch got to introduce her boss, which she did this way:

"Many in legacy media love mass shootings. You guys love it. Now I'm not saying that you love the tragedy. But I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media ..."

As for the vomit that came out of the mouth of LaPierre -- Donald Trump's good friend -- the Guardian reported it thusly:

"This growing socialist state dreams of manipulating schoolchildren to squeeze them for information about their parents ... Do mommy and daddy own a gun?

And all of this private information will be entered on to that ultimate list, that cloud of data storage ... and then it's just a short hop to the systematic destruction of our basic freedoms in this country ... If these so-called European socialists take over the House and the Senate and god forbid they win the White House again our American freedoms will be lost forever, and the first to go will be the second amendment to the US constitution."

Let's hope so. It is an abomination of an amendment to the Constitution in its present form. The sooner this grotesquery of a reality that fetishes limitless weapons of mass death is ended, the better. Actually, in an ideal world, the first thing to go would be Wayne LaPierre himself.

A victim of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is taken away in an ambulance.