President Obama — A Pen, A Cell Phone, An Emoticon

Big Red Car here. Going to be a little rainy in the ATX today. 60F and 70% chance of rain. Sigh!

So, did you catch the President’s speech on gun control? If you didn’t, you should. It was spectacular. Oscar worthy spectacular.

Give Barack H Obama one thing — the guy can deliver a speech. Maybe his best speech ever. Powerful, emotional, resounding. Empty.

Now, you cynics will be tempted to say: “But, Big Red Car, that’s all the guy does — speeches. Nothing but speeches. No action, just speeches.”

Shame on you, you cynics. It was a damn good speech. Hush!

The President’s Oscar Award Winning Speech

The President gave a great speech as I said. Filled with tearful testimony about his emotional turmoil at the death of persons at the hands of guns. Great stuff. Great theater. A great performance. Great performances should be recognized and rewarded, no?

I thought the crying alone was worthy of a “lifetime achievement” Oscar. Being serious.

“For the best emotion wringing speech by a lame duck President on a subject that he has ignored throughout the entirety of his failed presidency, the Oscar is awarded to ………………………… President Barack H Obama for his fabulous gun control speech on 5 January 2016.”

Crowd, remembering the speech, breaks into polite applause.

President trots gamely up to the podium and …………………………………… gives an acceptance speech.

What was in it, the speech, Big Red Car?

Easy question, y’all. NOTHING!

Some lame nonsense about requiring arms dealers (I like to call them “arms dealers” like DRUG DEALERS — sounds so much more dangerous, no?) who sell even one gun to be subject to the requirement to obtain an FFL (Federal Firearms License). Now that will really have a massive impact on criminals with guns, no?

I can imagine that amongst the brotherhood of criminals this very morning with their coffee, the prospect of more licensed arms dealers — their zeal for crime has probably been tempered in a rather dramatic fashion. You cynics will be tempted to say, “Hey, Big Red Car, they’re fucking criminals. They don’t get their guns legally. WTF, Big Red Car?”

You, dear friend, will need to sit down, shut up, and go with the flow.

Then, there will be background checks for everyone for everything. Do not pay attention to the notion that the San Bernandino gun procurer passed said background check before legally buying the guns he gave to the RITs (radical Islamic terrorists) who killed fourteen Americans. Do not go THERE, haters.

“Big Red Car, if the San Bernandino shithead passed a background check how is this going to change anything? Huh? Help me here, Big Red Car!”

Shhh, it isn’t. It’s a feel good, do nothing, inartful attempt to appear effective and relevant while distracting the world and the nation from the President’s failed presidency. Shhh!

Why now, Big Red Car?

The President and his party, the Democrats, held powerful sway over the Congress in the first couple of years of his presidency. They jammed through — unread, undebated, on a strict party line vote — Obamacare but they didn’t remember to do anything on gun control. It wasn’t important enough then and the President’s speech writers had other topics requiring the use of their entire supply of emoticons.

“So why now, Big Red Car? Huh?”

Because, dear reader, the President is casting about for a bit of Mount Rushmore legacy material and having screwed up domestic policy, having left foreign policy in a shambles, he is grasping at straws whilst trying to cast the Republicans in a bad light.

“It’s the Republicans’ fault, y’all! Those bad, evil Republicans. I know I haven’t delivered a bill to the Congress to seriously consider. My bad! But still, if I had, the bad Republicans would not have allowed it to become law because they hate me because I’m half black. They’re racists of worse.”

Right, Mr. President, it’s the Republicans.

It’s not that you are a liar of gargantuan proportions who admires the “Australian Experiment” (the wholesale confiscation of a nation’s guns) or that you tried to ban certain popular ammunition in your last end run attempt, or that the country does not want it and the people’s elected representatives are tempted, from time to time, to actually do what the people elected them to do. None of that. It’s the bad Republicans.

What would real, serious gun regulation look like, Big Red Car?

Serious gun regulation would be conducted with a mutually respectful dialogue as to what is possible now. It would not be an accusatory, teary eyed rant — even if John Boehner, Crying John, were still Speaker of the House — it would be an adult dialogue.

1. It would focus on the creation of a “crazy person list” — as called for in the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and opposed by the Democrats and the ACLU (ooops, same bunch, sorry) — which would keep guns out of the hands of crazy persons who are doing all of the killing. This is low hanging fruit. Pick it.

2. It would focus on closing the gun show loophole through legislation passed by Congress not by the illegal use of the President’s pen and cell phone. Or with emoticons.

Reasonable people have no problem with closing the gun show loophole and requiring background investigations to purchase guns at a gun show. Let’s be clear — this will accomplish almost nothing because criminals do not submit themselves to background checks. They’re fucking criminals.

3. It would focus on using big data to spotlight when someone buys a lot of ammunition and it would send a cop to see them.

“Hey, our big data thingy noted that you bought sixteen weapons and 230,000 rounds of 9mm hollow points. WTF is going on here, pal?”

“Uhhh, I was planning on a mass shooting. Is that going to be a problem?”

“Yes, it is, shithead. Let’s go downtown.”

McDonald’s can process my Visa in 1.5 seconds before I get the Big Mac and fries I ordered but we can’t identify shitheads who buy massive amounts of guns and ammo?

Please get me Amazon on the line, y’all. Now. Then, call McDonald’s.

4. Here’s one of the big secrets about gun regulation — the Feds are at an all time low in enforcing the current laws against gun crimes involving the very regulatory schema they insist is the solution to the problem. They aren’t enforcing the existing Federal laws. Enforce the current law.

5. The Congress would pass a law that any crime — ANY CRIME — that had a gun involved gets another ten years tacked on whatever sentence is handed down. Any crime. This would be an enormous deterrent and it would ensure that the criminals who actually use guns would be off the streets.

6. A task force would target and clean up the known centers of gun violence in the US starting with the President’s hometown of Chicago. If the top four most violent cities in the US were cleaned up, the US would be the 4th lowest gun crime country on the planet. Hell, we’d be making hot chocolate and yodeling in a couple of years.

7. The President would provide principled leadership and stop pretending that he really cares about the subject and stop grandstanding and stop crying big faux alligator tears and just get it done. Oh, yes, he’d have to actually lead and stop lying.

Whew, what now, Big Red Car?

Yes, dear reader, what do we do now?

1. Now, dear reader, we admit to ourselves that this President, this pathetically lame duck failed President, is not going to accomplish anything — as he hasn’t for the last seven years — on gun control. Hard truth.

2. We recognize that the American people are not going to give up their guns and, in fact, have bought more guns than ever in 2015. The President has become The Best Gun Salesman Ever! That may well be his legacy.

3. We admit to ourselves that criminals are not buying their guns legally. They do not submit to background checks because THEY CANNOT PASS A BACKGROUND CHECK, they’re criminals.

4. We hope for a better outcome next year.

5. We vote for the President to get that lifetime achievement Oscar for his teary eyed performance — best ever, y’all.

6. We count down the days until this President takes up his rightful place in the dustbin of history and we get back to living in the real world.

I have been a little tough on the President. I admit it. But, it’s only a couple of months until March Madness and we can get back to the really important stuff — the President’s NCAA Tournament Bracket! I wonder who he has winning it all? Think it might be the NRA?

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car! Oscar, baby!





6 thoughts on “President Obama — A Pen, A Cell Phone, An Emoticon

  1. Yup, on the Oscar, same here: Right away I guessed what O’s speech would be and refused to watch. From what I’ve read about the speech, my guess was mostly right. In part I was wrong: I expected the usual up to an Academy Award nomination, but this time he definitely deserved an Oscar by acclimation.

    But, much as from BRC today, the speech was just a special case of the usual from O, a four step dance:

    (1) See an issue, especially one of the his favorites.

    (2) Give a speech, call it his Big Speech.

    (3) Get big headlines.

    (4) Forget about it until the next issue.

    One of the main reasons to execute this dance step is when there are headlines he doesn’t like. Then he can execute the dance step to change the headlines.

    More generally, we should say that O is POTUS by omission, not commission. Or, it’s as if Bill Ayers told his young padawan learner that it is really easy to get impaled by the press from any commission but really difficult for any omission. So, for whatever want to accomplish, do that by omission, not commission. E.g., simply decline to enforce certain laws.

    Or, O — how to be POTUS without really trying. Or have a great time working on golf game and jump shot, going on great vacations, having great dinners, with lots of bros for guests, and to look good, give some speeches. Then, don’t do anything or, in some rare cases, do just a little, e.g., send 50 US soldiers to the rebels in Syria.

    For 1., the “crazy person list”, at least need some due process here. Also for the “no fly list”, e.g., that apparently is the first draft of the crazy person list. Also for any other such lists without due process.

    Also, it’s very much a fact that our means of detecting crazy people are really short on the crucial issue of just simple accuracy. Easily enough, the means are way short on the two biggies reliability (much the same as standard deviation in statistics) and validity. (much the same as unbiased in statistics, that is, at least on average get the right answer). Or, the means have far too many false positives and false negatives — that is, are low quality means. With these means, can take the best six psychiatrists and come up with at least eight results.

    For accuracy, our means for detecting crazies are junk.

    No US citizen should be at risk from such

    Heck, from all I can tell, the only sane people are you and me, and sometime I wonder about one of us! junk nonsense.

    E.g., I submit to the nation, Exhibit #1 — Obama. I rest my case.

    On 3., you want to use big data to detect large purchases of ammo. Right away I wondered but then right away saw you want also to consider weapons and specific kinds of ammo, e.g., hollow points. Yup, suspicions confirmed: You want to consider several variables, not just one.

    Now, let’s see here: Some guy is calmly going about his daily business. Then right away this detection means has two ways to be wrong — (1) false positives where we say that something is wrong where there is not and (2) false negatives where we say that nothing is wrong but there is.

    So, then, necessarily, no choice, do not pass go, do not collect $100, go directly to the subject of statistical hypothesis tests.

    There we will want to know false alarm rate. And if we have a detection, we want to know what is the lowest false alarm rate for which for this data there would still be a detection — in any due process, I’d sure want to know.

    Mow how to do a statistical hypothesis test with just one variable, e.g., amount of ammo, already would stump a lot of people in college Stat 101. For how to handle several variables with any good sense at all, we could stump, uh, nearly everyone in the world. Sorry ’bout that. We’re talking leading edge research in applied math, mathematical statistics, computer science, etc. That is, we want a statistical hypothesis test that lets us exploit several variables — ammo, guns, type of ammo — appropriately jointly, not just one variable at a time, and where we do not have to assume we know the probability distribution of the data — not even big data has that much data.

    AFAIK, and what I do know is likely correct, there is only one source for such hypothesis tests, the ones in the paper I published in the journal Information Sciences.

    So, before rushing off to exploit big data, might want to talk to someone with some good ideas of what the heck to do with that data.

    But using big data, as in Big Brother or Big Brother is watching, maybe as in surveillance of US citizens might be considered, in the words of the US Constitution, “unreasonable search”. Or, with any means of testing with chances of false positives, if do lots of tests, then for nearly everyone will find at least one false positive. This way we could put on some shit list essentially everyone, more specifically, everyone the list maker didn’t like. There’s a word for this — tyranny.

    Lots of people saw this danger in the old DARPA program of Total Information Awareness. Heck, in forbidding “unreasonable search” our Founding Father saw it.

    Hell, we’d be making hot chocolate and yodeling in a couple of years.

    That’s right: The gun violence statistics for people in the US but with recent Swiss origin are likely really good. So, to evaluate the rate of gun violence in the US, do the standard, first step in statistics of social science — control on likely variables. So, control on country of origin.

    Similarly for test scores of students in K-12.

    Now we will hear from the PC peanut gallery — “But that would be profiling!”.

    Right, a.k.a., looking at the data.

    Right: PC is full of ways to keep people from doing the obvious, looking at the data. Any bright Soviet out to weaken the soft headed US — having “fuzzy, bunny play time” — would have been really proud to have hooked the US on PC.

    For 7., note what I said about government by omission, not commission.

    For a better explanation, maybe there’re some things going on here we don’t understand.

      • I carry around a beat up copy of “life planning for the ceo” from the good folks at The Wisdom of the Campfire. I feel a strong pull towards the deeper stuff and even have been known to dig through the archives by month looking for that type of stuff. The “rules” are also a favorite. I come back everyday for the political stuff as well. Probably makes up 90 percent of what I read on gun reform and the election.

        My current role as Director of Business Development (only one BD person at the firm, so director of myself) is in a brand new industry for me. We work as a subcontractor on large public energy efficiency projects. I’m sure you’ve heard of performance contracting. The piece that we specialize in is weatherization and mechanical insulation. My job, which didn’t exist before, is to find these projects and get us an “at bat”. I am loving it. Great people, culture, mission, values, business model, dollar weighted org chart, etc. There previously was zero “outbound” BD work done here. They were a successful small shop getting on by installing great projects. Have 1 relationship with a larger “ESCO” where we do 60% of our busniess (bit exposed).

        My job is to make 10+ more of those relationships and blow it up. I have the freedom to build my own systems and design what I think is our best strategy. Blank check book, all the support in the world, where should I focus?

        Not really a topic I guess, but I’m sure you can make a post out of it. Or not. I will keep coming back everyday anyway.

        What’s the best thing that readers can do for you? Share, retweet, car wash gift cards, etc?

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