A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Women Authors Are Everywhere!

by evanmcmurry

Hey, a significant female literary author gets a spot on a major cable TV show…to talk about a dead dude’s book.

Guns and Suicides

by evanmcmurry

Richard Florida brings ye olde scientific method to bear on the recent surge in suicides and finds that the most readily available, obvious explanation—the economic downturn—doesn’t fly. Break the suicide rate down by state, and the highest increases occur in states with relatively stable economies, while states with harder-hit economies saw no surge in deaths.

What the increases do match is gun ownership. Across the fifty states, deaths by poisoning or suffocation are the same; states with high gun ownership, however, saw increases in suicides:

A Harvard School of Public Health study found gun ownership to be the overriding factor in accounting for state-by-state differences in suicide after controlling for mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and other factors. A website for a Harvard suicide-prevention campaign explains: “The higher suicide rates result from higher firearm suicides; the non-firearm suicide rate is about equal across states.” The Harvard School of Public Health News, which summarized the main findings of the study, notes that “in states where guns were prevalent—as in Wyoming, where 63 percent of households reported owning guns—rates of suicide were higher. The inverse was also true: where gun ownership was less common, suicide rates were also lower.”

This is yet another reminder of how little the “good guy with a gun/bad guy with a gun” pablum being paddled by Wayne LaPierre has to do with anything.

John Cornyn Forgets How To Do Job, Maybe Never Knew

by evanmcmurry

Apparently it’s Texas Senators’ day to shine. John Cornyn, the elder statesmen (!!!) of Texas’ upper chamber representation, threw a tantrum Thursday over the judicial nominations he himself has been holding up:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) ranted Thursday that President Barack Obama hasn’t put forward judicial nominees for vacancies in Texas, some open and without a nominee for more than 1,000 days. But he got schooled by his Democratic colleagues, who reminded him he’s responsible for recommending nominees to the White House in the first place — something he hasn’t done for years.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Cornyn was arguing for more immigration judge slots in Texas when he got called out by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) for gumming up the district court nomination process. Immigration judges are different from district court judges, but Whitehouse questioned why the Senate should add more immigration judgeships in Texas if Cornyn isn’t trying to fill empty district court slots there.

[snip] That’s when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) stepped in to remind Cornyn what he already knows: that if he wants to see movement on district court nominees, he needs to make recommendations to the president.

“Based on 38 years experience here, every judgeship I’ve seen come through this committee during that time has followed recommendations by the senators from the state,” Leahy said.

Ted Cruz, the junior member from the Lone Star state, has been using his rookieness to excuse his impertinence to senior senators, but suddenly it was his first day:

Cruz tried to absolve himself of the matter altogether, saying he just got to the Senate in January.

“Although it might feel like it, at least for me, I haven’t been here anywhere nearly close to 1,000 days,” Cruz said.

In the end, lessons were learned:

Cornyn said Thursday that he’d met with White House officials on the matter and told them he is “happy to work with them” to review nominees and fill some of the vacancies. He didn’t have much response, though, when Leahy asked if the commission has made any recommendations yet.

“Well it’s uh, we’re working on that,” Cornyn said. “What is this, May? And we’re trying to, we’re trying — we’re working on that.”

“I would be happy to help you,” replied Leahy.

#JewsForCruz To Make Life Worthwhile

by evanmcmurry

Oh for fuck’s sake:

Famed Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz ranks Sen. Ted Cruz among the school’s smartest students, adding that the Canada-born Texan can run for president in 2016.

Cruz was a “terrific student,” Dershowitz told The Daily Caller. “He was always very active in class, presenting a libertarian point of view. He didn’t strike me as a social conservative, more of a libertarian.”

Well, now we know from whom Cruz learned to be condescending. For the record, this is the same Harvard Law School that Mitt Romney went to, but not the elitist one Barack Obama attended thanks to affirmative action.

BONUS: There’s also a #JewsForCruz hashtag! I’ll be thrilled to hear details of how Cruz’s view of skeletal, states’-rights government somehow includes robust support for Israel.