So You've Found Me

My Weird Debate on Guns with the Characters of “Mad Men”

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You know what I think about guns in this country and you know I have no problem sharing those views from this tiny little soap box once in awhile. For some reason I caught the attention of the Twitter accounts belonging to some serious fans of the TV series Mad Men. In the end it was of no clear point — debating gun policy in this country rarely is. But it was a fun way pass a Sunday morning…..

It all started when I tweeted this:

“Roger Sterling” took exception, using language that was obviously acceptable for the period in which the character exists:

Since I’m familiar with the series, I decided to engage:

At which point “Don Draper” joined in.

At which point “Pete Campbell” joined in:

At this I decided to escalate the conversation further:

If you’re not familiar with the series, then it’s important to know that Ken Cosgrove is the character who gets infamously shot in the face by a General Motors executive during a weekend hunting trip in rural Michigan while trying to win an advertising deal. He wears an eyepatch for the remainder of the series. He also grows to loathe Pete Campbell and eventually leaves the agency.

Roger was incensed at the very mention of Ken’s name.

Written by ahess247

June 22nd, 2015 at 9:56 am

Here’s Your American Exceptionalism

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This is what the Second Amendment gets us: Three times the rate of firearm homicides than any other developed nation (ex-the narco states like Mexico and Colombia) each year. Take an average town of 100,000 people and kill three people every year, for that is the statistical trend we are experiencing in this country. If you wanted to find a solid case for American exceptionalism, you just found it. We are exceptional at killing each other and doing nothing meaningful to stop it.

How the U.S. compares to other wealthy nations on gun homicides per 100,000. Via The Washington Post.

As Christopher Ingraham writes in The Washington Post’s Wonkblog

…[W]hen it comes to gun homicide, the U.S. stands out from the rest of the world’s wealthy nations. According to homicide data collected by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and compiled by The Guardian newspaper, the U.S.’s annual gun homicide rate of 2.97 fatalities per 100,000 people is triple the rate seen in most of the world’s other wealthy nations, defined in this chart as countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It excludes Latin American countries like Mexico that have traditionally had high murder rates, often due to political instability and the drug war.

Harvard University’s Injury Control Research Center weighs in here with a collection of research on the prevalence of firearms and the link to their criminal use. Basically its review of the academic literature comes down to this:

Where there are more guns, there are more homicides.

The academic evidence shows strongly and definitively that this is true across the U.S. and other high-income countries, and also on a state-by-state basis within the U.S.

Written by ahess247

June 19th, 2015 at 10:04 am

Posted in Currents

A Stunningly Sad, Yet in the End Oddly Encouraging Statistical View of War

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June 8th, 2015 at 10:52 pm

Posted in Currents,Reading,Video

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Sunset from Terranaea.

California Sunset. #nofilter #codecon

A photo posted by Arik Hesseldahl (@ahess247) on

Written by ahess247

June 7th, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Travels,Work

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Dumpstaphunk with Steel Town Horns and Taz at Brooklyn Bowl

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I almost didn’t go to this show, but Brittany Stone insisted and she can be kind of convincing. I’m glad she was for it was amazing.

Dumpstaphunk hails from New Orleans, where they take the matters of funk and jam as seriously as they do their food, for it nourishes and sustains the people there in a way that only they can fully understand.

Establishing its musical bona fides, it sports two Neville brothers: — Ivan is lead vocalist and keyboardist, Ian also shows up on vocals and guitar. Nick Daniels, Tony Hall double up with a truly filthy duel of the bass guitars. Nikki Glaspie on drums rounded out the primary personnel. Sitting in was the four-person Steel Town Horns. Yes, I’m always a sucker for the horn section.

Dumpstaphunk with Brittany Stone. Also I'm in Brooklyn.

A photo posted by Arik Hesseldahl (@ahess247) on

And then there was the kid, a 12-year old half-pint of highly-concentrated soul named Taz. Barely taller than the guitar he has so clearly mastered, and obviously up past his bedtime he stole the damned show playing with a virtuosity and stage confidence well beyond his years. And let’s not even get started about that head of hair. I’ve since come to learn that his name is Brandon Niederauer and he’s so good it makes you mad.

In the first clip he’s with the band covering the Phish tune “Money, Love, and Change,” and watch for Taz to start killing it about the six-minute mark. There are actually people calling for him to to replace Trey Anastasio in Phish.

Here’s a cover of the old James Gang guitar standby Funk #49.

They played two sets, the last of which ended well after 1 AM, and the crowds lingered on at the spacious Brooklyn Bowl, soaking up the residual buzz, drinking and carrying on with the assorted band members (Taz excluded) until sometime after three. (No we did not bowl.) At this Brittany had the good sense to steer me toward a waiting taxi and a longish ride back to the Upper West Side. Brooklyn won that round with assist from New Orleans.

Written by ahess247

April 12th, 2015 at 1:19 pm