Feb 25 2018
I've been keeping quiet about the mass school shooting in Florida some weeks ago because it's such a hot-button topic, and many people speaking out are catching harrassment and death threats - even the students who survived the massacre. Of course, the National Rifle Association went on the record as saying, quote, "The NRA doesn't back any ban." Meaning, of course, they'll do their damndest to hamstring any new legislation that has to do with guns. It's also worth noting that there were multiple law enforcement officers - trained and armed - at the school, and they did nothing. Which isn't surprising to me; if they're anything like the police in the school I went to, they went out of their way to not do their jobs (the students selling both drugs and guns I graduated with did so with relative impunity). Oh, and let's not forget what can happen if you play the part of the hero and disarm the shooter - the cops think the hero's the shooter, and open fire. No good deed goes unpunished.
But that's not what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is gun culture, as someone who's part of it, but who stays as far away from it as possible.
Mar 04 2017
You may or may not have noticed amongst the blizzard of other stuff that's happened in the last two weeks that Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai to the chairmanship of the Federal Communications Commission. Pai has a history of being something of a contrarian; during his time as one of the five commissioners of the FCC, he repeatedly spoke against regulations that protected the consumer and was against diverse media ownership (since the 1980's, we went from 50 media companies to just six). Time and again Pai's said that he was going to tear down regulation after regulation that the FCC was responsible for enforcing, and so far he has a track record of making that happen, albeit piece by piece and not all at once.
But what does this mean?
Net Neutrality is the legal state in which every Internet Service Provider out there has to provide the same kind of service for all of its users to every online service out there. In other words, the Net is treated like a basic utility, no different from water or electricity. If a provider gets caught monkeying with its service to privilege some company over another, they can get fined. A number of large service providers, including Comcast and AT&T, pledged publicaly that they'd adhere to the terms of Net Neutrality until a certain future date. That's pretty much it.
Let's look at a world in which net.neutrality is a thing in the United States, which it still seems to be as of the time I wrote this article:
Feb 17 2017
Here's the original link to the memorandum, which is dated 25 January 2017.
Here's my local mirror of the same document.
- "It implements new policy designed to deter illegal immigration and facilitate the detection. apprehension. detention. and removal of aliens who have no lawful authority to enter or remain in the United States."
- "Additional agents are needed to ensure operational control of the border. Accordingly, the Commissioner of CBP shall immediately begin the process of hiring 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents and to take all actions necessary to ensure that such agents enter on duty and are assigned to appropriate duty stations as soon as practicable."
- "Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes me to enter into an agreement with a state or political subdivision thereof, for the purpose of authorizing qualified officers or employees of the state or subdivision to perform the functions of an immigration officer."
- "... I am directing the Director of ICE to engage with all willing and qualified law enforcement jurisdictions for the purpose of entering into agreements under section 287(g) of the INA. Additionally, I am directing the Commissioner of CBP and the Director of ICE to immediately engage with the Governors of the States adjacent to the land border with Mexico and those States adjoining such border States for the purpose of entering into agreements under section 287(g) of the INA to authorize qualified members of the State National Guard, while such members are not in federal service, or qualified members of a state militia or state defense force under the command of the Governor, to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension, and detention of aliens in the United States."
Has this memo been implemented yet? No.
Is it true that the White House did not draft such an order? No. Here it is, with appropriate citations. It exists and was timestamped late January of 2017, but it's not operational yet.