Lots of good ways to think about our current predicament in Ben Debney's article "Culture Wars Defend the Minority of the Opulent From the Majority." The other day I suggested cultural warriors were "useful idiots" for corporate power, but Mr. Debney reminds us that the culture war is also very much like a protection racket -- "at a price, they offered protection against evils that they themselves would otherwise inflict, or at least allow to be inflicted." We find this to be literally true in the latest child-molestation scandal involving Southern Baptists! And maybe I don't say this enough, but the cultural warriors are all whiny little diaper-loaded brats! Their real problem with America isn't that they have "no voice in the public square," but that theirs isn't the only voice in the public square.
It's a damn shame that there are enough mass school shootings that scholars can study them and detect patterns in them, but from James Densley and Jillian Peterson at The Conversation we can learn a few things about these shootings. Like, either boys or 18-year-old men carry them out, they generally don't intend to live past the shooting, they generally leave warnings about what they're about to do, and most of them have a connection to the school at which they kill people. Also, it's not so much about "fame and notoriety" as it is about anger. I found getting along with other kids pretty tough when I was that age, which certainly wasn't all their fault, and I imagine it's only gotten worse for the teenagers who've come after me.
Our Supreme Court essentially sentences two likely-innocent men to death in ruling that inmates convicted in state courts can't appeal to federal courts if they had bad counsel. Why should a state get to abridge a citizen's Constitutionally-granted (and therefore federal) rights? Beats me. Oh, wait, I know: so that the Court's far-right wing, now numbering six of nine, can claim a broad "state's right" to ignore our Constitution whenever convenient, at which point it'll be bye-bye to a lot of things we've fought and died for. And dig Justice Thomas's whining about having to deal with "serial relitigation of final convictions"! Or, as your right-wing uncle would say, how many trials do we have to give a guy? The civilized person's answer: as many as it takes until justice is done. That is what great nations do, isn't it?
Henry Kissinger says that defeating Russia would have "disastrous" consequences. Like? Oh, you know, "upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome," and remember that Russia's been around for hundreds of years! Citing these as reasons not to hand Russia a decisive defeat sure sounds like an argument against ever doing the right thing if it injures any nation that happens to have endured for centuries. If our country gets taken over by fascists and starts bombing the crap out of Central and South America, I guess he'll argue against our "humiliation" or "defeat" for the same reason. Personally, I think the civilized people should make these decisions.
Finally, Sen. Sinema (D?-AZ) says that "D.C. solutions" to our mass murder epidemic aren't "realistic" (while Arizona's other Senator, whose wife nearly got killed by a mass shooter, has a more humane response). First off, new rule: no one who works in government gets to suggest that government just doesn't work, as the phrase "D.C. solutions" surely does, not just because they might be the reason government doesn't work, but also because they're biting the hand that feeds them and we are that hand, since we're the taxpayers who pay her salary. Second, her vaunted "message discipline" is starting to sound merely like the absence of empathy, which might make her the Sam Alito of the Democratic caucus.