The folks over at Slate have written up a history of holding your gun sideways. As you might have expected, the Angry Men added some interesting commentary.

Angry Military Man
Unprofessional jackasses. This is one cultural trend that seriously pisses me off, I had a devil of a time trying to teach people how to properly hold a fucking pistol. They were always trying to be gangsta.

Angry Overeducated Catholic
But AMM why does this annoy you? I mean, I understand that this idiocy by your students annoyed you, sure. But how is this outcome anything but welcome:

As police chased Raymond “Ready” Martinez through Times Square on Thursday, the street hustler and aspiring rapper fired two shots, holding the gun sideways “like a character out of a rap video.” According to the New York Post, Martinez’s side grip caused the gun to jam, enabling police to shoot and kill the suspect.

By all means, let’s do whatever we can to encourage this sort of poor gun control by our criminal classes. If they’re going to abuse their rights, at least let them abuse them in a way that minimizes their danger to others and maximizes their danger to themselves.

I want a lack of professionalism in my would-be professional criminals!

Angry Immigrant
In that case…

I would like to propose a new gangsta style grip that involves holding the pistol upside down next to the head, barrel pointing forward. This would allow the spent casing to bounce “awesomely” off of the temple of the shooter, signifying toughness and promote true “def” style hearing loss.

Sighting the barrel directly next to the eyes should maximize the shooter’s conception of aiming accuracy, as it brings a point-and-shoot cyborg mentality for the shooter.

This new all-def method makes no claims of actual accuracy improvement. In case of a gun jamming, this may cause grievous explosive injury to the shooter, but that’s the risk of being tru-4-life.

Angry Libertarian
We can do better and have.

A suspect in the rape and armed robbery of several woman in River Forest accidentally shot himself in the head during a police chase Monday night in Oak Park. The suspect died several hours later.

Angry Overeducated Catholic
Well, yes, but of course in this case do we have any certain knowledge that he was in fact holding his gun when he shot himself in the head? There may have been a little officer-assisted suicide going on…this is River Forest we’re talking about.

On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that this guy was one of the dullest knives in the drawer. Of course there’s the inevitable tagline in modern America:

Patillo had convictions for aggravated unlawful use of a fire arm and drugs. He was paroled April 25 from the Sheridan Correctional Center.

Gosh, a parolee is released and within a year escalates to even more dangerous and violent offenses? What a shocker!*

Be interesting to find out whether this guy was off as part of Governor Quinn’s early release programs to save money…apparently they’re quietly releasing increasingly dangerous types because of funding issues.

Yippee!

*Note that this crap also makes the lives of actual reformed ex-cons even harder. Now that everyone knows that parole is a “get out of jail to rape and murder for free” card, there’s even less chance given to actual honest parolees who earned their parole through actual reform. When you make an earned privilege a natural right, you cheapen it 9 times out of 10.

Hola amigos! Angry New Mexican here! As usual, my angry hombres are remiss in writing. So without further ado, here is Angry Immigrant, waxing rhapsodical about his adopted homeland of California.

Angry Immigrant

With California within a stone’s throw of officially failing, the upcoming governor’s race should be more amusing than most. (Ok, it doesn’t look like Gary Coleman is jumping in this time).

The Dems are throwing an all-wacky team with the mayor of S.F. and Jerry Brown — who is probably Daley’s current rival for best local-politics weasel. The “gay marriage by executive order” mayor is just all kinds of crazy. Popular in SF itself, but otherwise viewed as unserious. Brown is hard to categorize. He’s bounce around through nearly every level of state government (including governor), but he has all of the baggage that comes with a lifetime of shady deals at all levels of government. Neither will be of great help digging the state out of the hole it’s in, but the election will likely be decided on whether the voters feel the crisis or not late in 2010.

The republicans are sending a team that might actually have some competence to it. Maybe. If they don’t stab each other in the back and destroy the state party like some other states I could mention.

Well, for Senate they seem to be trying their hardest.

The two intriguing candidates to me are the businesswomen. Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have both had stints running major companies, and the GOP here seem to be trying to 1) bring a business-heavy slate and 2) break their old white man image. Fiorina seems to be off to a bumbling start. But, given that the only other time I’ve heard of here was when she was run out of HP for corruption or incompetence, that may actually be representative for her.

It’s possible that they’re letting Fiorina stumble forward to tie up Boxer’s attention, and then they’ll slot Schwarzenegger in as a Senate candidate just before the primary. But I think he’s ready to be done with politics, and get back to just being a normal rich guy again.

It seems like if the GOP can run on a platform of business competence and fiscal conservatism (and de-emphasize nearly everything else for this cycle), they should make massive gains. But California is in the hole it’s in for a reason — the GOP keeps picking idiot organizers and candidates, and the voters keep picking idiot Dems.

Evidently Mao is the new thing in avant garde Chinese art. Underground exhibitions, keeping heads and bodies of statuary separated, this is some pretty wacky stuff.

My favorite piece (and a favorite of several other Angry Men) is The Execution of Christ by the Gao brothers:

Nothing like a firing squad of Maos executing Jesus

I thought was a interesting commentary on religious freedom in China, with a touch of Picasso’s Guernica, juxtaposed against the patent absurdity of multiple Maos. In a sense, it was in the line of Andy Warhol’s portrait of Mao with rouge and lipstick.

Several other Angry Men also waxed philosophically, witness this dialogue between Angry Overeducated Catholic and Angry Immigrant…

Angry Overeducated Catholic: I like the Mao off by himself: is he doubting the party line, is he afraid to take a life, is he worried Christ is Who He says He is? Or is he just too incompetent to load a rifle, stand in a line, and shoot an unarmed man?

Angry Immigrant: He’s a demagogue, posing with a rifle trying to look tough, but unable to actually look at the consequences of his policies…

Angry Overeducated Catholic: Ah, but I believe the other members of the squad are also Mao…so perhaps Mao has only a small part of his conscience left, which recoils from the consequences of his policies even while powerless to prevent his larger self from carrying them out?

Good stuff, huh? A little philosophical for my blood, but interesting nonetheless.

Angry Military Man, famed wit that he is, one the day. Had little else to say other than Mao More Than Ever. But once saying that, need one say any more?

I’m not making this up. Evidently you can write papers in Phys Rev E about escaping from the Zombie Apocalypse.

Angry Immigrant notes, along the same lines, Penny Arcade summed up the current fad well with:

By any reasonable barometer, any metric, by any comprehensive schema of assessment, undeath is this nation’s chief export. We deal it out globally, all the while surfing metabolically on the strange fumes of its production. Thus, in direct violation of the Ten Crack Commandments, we’re getting high on our own supply. And the resultant product is getting pretty thin.

We’re exporting undeath. Zombies and Vampires. Hip-deep.

And rice.

And Democracy!

You can find Tycho’s original article here and you can find their prediction (in comic form) of the next big undead thing here.

So, possibly this wasn’t quite the right year for a Bejing Olympics. Maybe we should wait until after the oppressive, restrictive, truth-optional government falls this time, unlike the ’36 olympics (and 1980, for that matter). Much like the debacle that will be the 2010 South Africa World Cup, it’s probably not a good idea to have a nationalist competition in a country with Freudian “nationalism issues.”

On the bright side, this is the first time in decades that the Olympic torch relay has garnered more than passing notice by any media and won more than B-reel footage to fill the gaps between the Iraq war, financial meltdown, and the foreclosed house owners not knowing whether to evict the tenants to avoid vandalism or to encourage them to stay to keep the value of the house from plummeting.

Londoners took to the streets for a game of “snatch the torch”, followed by having governmental inquiry as to why Chinese special forces were allowed to manhandle British police and dignitaries just because they were within 10 feet of the magic “Bunsen burner of peace”. Then Parisians took a break from burning their own city to the ground to try the novelty of putting out flames as it was jogged/driven through town.

San Francisco, in a true American media-savvy style, went all in by preparing its protests ahead of time, so that the news footage would draw out more protesters on the actual “torch day”. Also, celebrating their city full of athletically-fit crackpots, three protesters climbed “Big Red” to fly protest parachutes over the city.

I guess pissing off people who hope one day to climb big rocks in the country you’re subjugating leads to more interesting displays, at least.

It will be interesting to see if San Francisco gives a warmer welcome to the Chinese military than they do to the U.S. military…

The current tally stood, last I saw it, as:

  • French Government considering boycotting the opening ceremony.
  • US considering boycott of opening ceremony. Congressmen calling for boycott of opening ceremony and games.
  • English government is conflicted over whether to boycott, since they’ve supported the Chinese too much already.
  • Chinese Government, due to its crystal clear transparency and always reporting of the truth, proclaims that everything is peachy and “passionate crowds” are welcoming the torch along the route.

They must be referring to their army squad and the driver of the “extinguished torch bus”.

Update:
There’s a great game of “find the torch” going on in San Francisco as I’m writing this. Pro-China and anti-China groups were shouting at each other all morning, separated only by a mutual hatred of cooties (and the SF riot police). After a quick opening ceremony, the torch was put on a mystery bus and driven around in secret throughout downtown, trying specifically to avoid being noticed.

Resorting to a “secret parade” can only be topped by… a secret closing ceremony!
via KPIX San Francisco (CBS):

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said the planned closing ceremony for the Olympic torch at the San Francisco Bay waterfront was canceled Wednesday afternoon and another one would take place at an undisclosed location. [emph mine -ai]

PS: Fascism

The New York Times brings up a set of very interesting questions about Barak Obama with their article Obama’s Test: Can a Liberal be a Unifier? Here at the 12 Angry Men Blog, we’re always interested in providing more analysis than you get on the news. Today, three of the twelve offer their perspective.

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Angry Immigrant

“I’m interested in solving problems as opposed to imposing doctrine,” he said. “I see a lot of convergence of interests among people who in traditional terms are considered to be divided politically.

Well, yes, but those people are divided politically between the left “The government should regulate core industries for public health and safety concerns” and the far left “anyone trying to make a profit is evil, and we should become Sweden”. He’s even having a hard time uniting those people.

But, on the flip side, a junior Senator who actually tries to build bridges and unite a massive center coalition will get zero support from his own national committee, which is largely partisan. It’s possible that he knows he has to bow, scrape, and be generally subservient to his party handlers until after the convention. After Hillary actually steps down, Obama could suddenly actually become the centrist uniter he keeps insisting that he really is, since he won’t have to appease the foaming-at-the-mouth crazies on both sides of him anymore. He could really mean what he says, but be constrained to being fanatically Democrat his whole career up to the point that he’s the presidential nominee. It’s conceivable. I don’t really believe it, but I’m exploring possibilities. If Hillary would just sit down and shut up, he could actually start working. Or he could self-destruct in a fall not seen since Icarus once the Democratic party gets to look at his ideas long enough for some small child to point out that the Emperor is naked…

McCain, being the senior senator who never really thought he’d get a shot at the big boy chair, already switched over to “curmudgeon” mode to do whatever he felt like doing at the moment without real fear of recriminations from his party. He’s done some real uniting across the aisle, but that’s more of a coincidence of convenience, rather than an overarching theme to his career. He’s already moving left to grab the center, and generally leaving the camo-wearing nutjobs and the pinko-commie socialists to fill the blogosphere with their empty whining.

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Angry Overeducated Catholic

When Obama speaks of uniting, he’s been pretty clear that he doesn’t mean some sort of mushy middle ground where we, and he, give up our dearly held principles. Rather, he means that in the midst of partisan fights, he’s also willing to move ahead on those issues where there’s shared ground. Or, at least that’s my read on him. To me, that’s actually pretty refreshing. I don’t expect, or even want, liberals to just give up their wacky, unworkable ideas. 😉 But, as we work hard to ensure that those insane ramblings never become law, I do want us to be on good speaking terms and get work done in those areas where we actually agree.

A commitment to work with your political opponents on issues where you agree doesn’t sound like much, until you look at how much political “debate” is shrill name-calling on both sides (“Bush lied,” “They’re not anti-war, they’re just on the other side,” etc.). If Obama is really willing to sit down and rationally talk with those whose policies he abhors and look for common ground, I’m behind him 100%. In this light I think the knee-jerk reaction to his desire to “talk with Iran” was silly. I can understand worrying about his Carter-like naivite but viewing any call for discussion as treason seems foolish. It just illustrates the current problem, and the thing that makes Obama so attractive to many people.

In short, he just drips common sense and reasonableness, at least on the issue of dialog. For me there’s no contradiction between Obama being a hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool liberal and promising to support honest and respectful dialog. Actually being able to pull off the promise is a different matter, but that may not be his fault. It takes two to dialog, but only one to shrilly accuse, after all. Anyone attacking Obama on his liberalism might be on dangerous ground, though. If Obama can stay calm and reasonable, and find a few Republicans to announce that they disagree with his politics but admire his bipartisan efforts, any attacks could come across as just more tiresome partisan sniping. No, as I see it, if Obama stumbles it won’t be on this issue, it will because certain past associates, etc. make us wonder if he really cares all that much about dialog in any form (*ahem* Pastor Jeremiah “Down With Whitey” Wright).

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Angry New Mexican

As John McCain has learned time and time again in his campaign, pretending to be someone you’re not (in his case, pretending to be a social conservative) will cost you dearly as human beings are generally pretty good at spotting phonies. McCain’s gotten off easy — he hasn’t been subject to a full-out assault from the likes of George Soros yet, so the price he paid was watching his campaign disintegrate last summer. Barak Obama has yet to learn that lesson, and I guarantee you it will come back to haunt him come the general election. He’s painted himself into a corner with rhetoric incompatible with his record. As Danny Diaz, a RNC mouthpiece noted, “When you’re rated by [the] National Journal as to the left of Ted Kennedy and Bernie Sanders, that’s going to be difficult to explain.” Mr. Diaz, I believe has hit the nail square on the head… and the Republican attack machine will be working overtime this fall to get that message across. I can see it now…

Cue the ominous music and cut to a middle-aged, lower-middle class white woman with a child. “I want straight talk from the next president. Don’t claim you’ll do something when you’ve been something different your entire career,” she says angrily.

Cut to a still of Barak Obama: “We need a leader who can finally move beyond the divisive politics of Washington.”

Cut to a middle-class white man: “Run on your record. Talk is cheap.”

Cut to a photo montage of Obama meeting with liberal icons. Cut to ominous voice: “And what is Senator Obama’s record? In 2006 he was the 10th most liberal member of the Senate. In 2007 he was the most liberal.” (The ad can go on for an additional 5 seconds or so touting Obama’s liberal record).

Cut to man and woman above: “He’s a died-in-the-wool liberal.” Ominous voice echos: “Obama. Liberal.”

Cut back to voice (now much nicer) as a video clip of McCain fades in: “Who is the candidate who has an actual record of working with both Democrats and Republicans to achive real change in Washington? John McCain. Check the record. It’s in black and white.”

Cut to Senator McCain: “I’m John McCain and I approve of this message.”

A bit of background: I work in the midst of a slough of professional artists who, like most artists, cover their work areas in artwork of varying quality and propriety. The walls of the office are saturated with artwork ranging from pencil sketches to internationally renown masterpieces. Like anyone around a wide variety of anything, a few of the pieces I find extremely irritating and patently inappropriate. However, being a reasonable person, I go about my day and get my work done. Little things like that don’t ruin my equilibrium, because, being an adult, I’ve learned that not everything goes my way and I save my effort for the important fights.

That being said there is one place in the building where there is a creative ongoing comic strip that is written and drawn entirely by software developers, not artists. Obviously, the quality of artwork pales in comparison with the best stuff made by the pros in the building, but it’s hardly the worst thing decorating a wall (that honor typically belongs to newspaper comics). I’m a big believer that good artwork doesn’t have to be complicated, especially not good comics.

After being up in its location for several years, and the latest episode being posted for over a year now (it’s not the world’s most prolific comic team — they’re busy writing software to support the artists, after all), someone complained about the handgun in the picture, and now it’s all been taken down. The one exposure in the building that the artistic ability of the software staff have next to the hundreds of thousands of elements from the art group, and this one is ruining one of those pitiful whiner’s day enough to get it canceled.

Now if someone has some serious gun trauma in their background, I can understand that they might not like reminders of the violence, but the current primary project of the company involves elements including a helicopter gunship and missile-firing motorcycles. Missle. Firing. Motorcycles. Good thing the pencil sketch with a handgun in it got removed. Someone was almost in danger there… might give someone ideas…

Today it trickled down to me that the official reason given for removing it was that the quality of the artwork was too low. That “you can’t make good art if you look at bad art”. Seriously. That’s the reason they gave. Now, being a logical sort of guy, I’m puzzled how people who believe that can expect to ever create the world’s most amazing artwork in their field — which is their stated goal. A motto like that means that you can’t ever be the best — what artwork on the wall would inspire you to create something that the world has never seen? Wouldn’t any existing artwork only serve to “bring you down”?

Continuing along that illogical train of thought, the new insistence is that the space should be filled with artwork of previous company projects. Now, that’s even worse if you’re so dependent on that magical space for inspiration to new world-beating heights. You’ll only be looking at stuff you’ve seen before, not anything that makes you think of anything new. And at the end of the day, all you’ve served to do is to squash a whimsical bit of entertainment from folks who are typically constricted in their tasks.

And another bit of fun dies in the name of political correctness.

It’s the sense of entitlement with which it was done that really get to me, though. If I were the vindictive type, and since some amount of control over what now appears in that space falls to me, I might be tempted to take advantage of that situation, given that it evidently affects the artists’ performance so critically…

The AM highlighted this article for discussion.

Angry Midwesterner:
Ah….Republicans.
Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when they stick it
to the poor and help out their rich buddies?

Angry Immigrant:
Yeah, those dang “Republicans” who took 6,000 acres of her land without any payment in the 1930s… And that $0 of repayment was worth more back then…

Angry Midwesterner:
At least they weren’t skipping over the nearby resort and the local Bush friend.

Angry Immigrant:
Well, for now they’re skipping over everyone and not building anything. But as for making the case for skipping Republicans, argue about the Hunt plantation/trade corridor — that one’s easier. The golf course doesn’t seem to have direct connections up the chain anywhere, and could just be avoiding rich people.

What pisses me off even more than regular government bureaucracy (apart from the ridiculous spelling of the word) is partisan bureaucracy (admittedly, these fence shenanigans seem applicable at the moment). The last thing I want is a CIA more loyal to Clinton than the U.S. and a DHS more loyal to Bush. With that policy we’ll eventually end up with the INS kicking down the door of some Indian family with the “same name as” and finding a CIA wet team waiting for them instead. And how is HillaryCare going to reimburse the widows after that mess?

I want anyone appointed to their job to be loyal to the country, not to the DNC or the RNC (GNC, P&FNC, BIRPNC…). You get your Obama dude to fix that by 2012, and I’ll consider voting to re-elect him.

Plus, this isn’t the right response of a poor-or-brown-people hating Republican. This is hosing our own people — that’s the Democrats’ job. A good evil Republican looks at this as says, “The problem comes from Mexico, so the solution goes inside Mexico.” We want to build the fence outside the flood plain, but there’s no reason to build it on our side of the river… If Mexico doesn’t enforce their own border, we’ll do it for them, with a 2 mile deep occupational fence zone. Any fence will piss them off, so why not go all the way? Plus, if they want to push us back from building the fence, they’ll have to send their military to the border; which will fix the original problem of them not policing the para-military groups running border incursions… Q.E.D. Where’s my consulting fee?

-AI

In a massive clash of cultures and climates, the gloriously orange Fighting Illini — fresh off their invention of the transistor, the LED, youTube, and all web browsing known to man — faced off against USC, who are fresh off their recent re-invention of … football.

Good – Illinois in the Rose Bowl
Bad – against USC
Good – enough friends in town with extra tickets that Mrs. Angry Immigrant and I get to go!
Bad – …to a game against USC.
Good – ~25,000 orange shirts, and lots of college nostalgia
Bad – ~60,000 red shirts on local thugs who pretend they went to USC.
Awesome – seeing one of these idiots pick a fight with an Illinois guy, call his friends to join him in the argument, then watching the LAPD haul all three USC guys off in handcuffs. (Mrs. A.I. would want me to point out that the big “tough” guy of the group was arrested by a girl — a tiny female officer who could easily have whooped him.)
Ugly – no Chief Illiniwek
Halfway Decent – The USC head coach being a nice enough guy to not use his time outs to push in one more touchdown at the end of the game, and set a record for points scored…
Really Reaching for a Silver Lining – Slightly improving on our 1984 score (UCLA 45 – Illinois 9).
Los Angeles – More ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ from USC than from O.J. Simpson.
Los Angeles – 90K fans, probably about 50K cars… 2 hour wait to leave the parking lot.

Happy New Year to y’all!

-AI

PS – the USC band is called the “Spirit of Troy”. It occurs to me that the actual “Spirit of Troy” involved picking a fight, only to be fooled by literally the oldest trick in the book, having your citizenry slaughtered to a man, and having your city burned to the ground so thoroughly that no one seriously believed it really existed until 20 centuries later.

USC – Celebrating a tradition of credulity and historical ignorance since 1906! Fight on!

While paging through News of the Weird, this caught my eye because I’ve been to this church before.

Ex-parishioner Angel Llavano, who had left a phone message for Father Luis Alfredo Rios criticizing one of his homilies, filed a defamation of character lawsuit in September after Father Rios retaliated by denouncing him in front of the Crystal Lake, Ill., congregation. Asked Rios (perhaps rhetorically), “Should we send (Llavano) to hell or to another parish?” [Chicago Tribune, 10-3-07]

After reading through a longer write-up from the local paper, I was thoroughly angry at both parties involved, each for their own actions.

It’s not particularly uncommon for sermons to rub someone the wrong way. The only way to avoid this is to water down the teaching of the Faith so much that one presents a talk that is both useless to give and to receive. While merely offending your congregation is not the sign of a good homilist; good homilists tend to get on the wrong side of the oversensitive in their communities on a fairly regular basis. Commonly, oversensitive parishioners tend to be involved somehow in parish education — an interesting correlation.

I don’t know either of these men. I don’t have a clue what Fr. Rios’ sermon, Mr. Llavano’s voice message, or Fr. Rios’ response contained aside from what was reported in the articles. I do know that there are better alternatives. If not the parishioner, then the priest should have known better. I’ve seen this situation begin on a handful of occasions, and I’ve seen it handled very well, and now also very poorly. Feelings get hurt, pride gets injured, but public retaliation is out of the question when the harm is only against you.

The Catholic response is: You praise in public, you admonish in private. End of lesson. When involved in an argument, you should never be the one to escalate a private dispute to a more public setting. If you need to make a public comment about an incident, you say nothing that could identify the other party in question — just discuss the incident.

To take a page from our Evangelical friends, (and as a background primer for our non-Christian readers) both men in question should know, being adult Christians and doubly so for both being teachers of the faith, these very straightforward and applicable Biblical passages.

Matt XVIII:15

“If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.”

Luke VI:29

“To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.”

Matt V:25

“Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.”

Now, as a result of failing to remember things that any good kindergartener knows, they both look like petulant children in a name-calling contest. Real men don’t need to go to court to settle petty disputes. They can sit down over a beer and work it out.

I would complain about how the only news anyone prints about Christians is bad news, but a priest unable to resolve a complaint about his sermon in a manly fashion is rightly a topic for News of the Weird, because it’s that rare. The vast majority of priests handle this properly without making national headlines out of it. Perhaps he had a bad week; perhaps he had a bad pizza the night before; but now he’s certainly having bad weeks as he’s getting hauled into the offices of the pastor and bishop for some remedial instruction…