Fact? Or Opinion?

From NYTimes Morning Briefing, 11/18/19 (via email):

“Now more than ever, the lines between fact-based reporting and opinionated commentary seem blurred for people,” said Evette Alexander, research director at a journalism foundation. “That means they trust what they are seeing less. They are feeling less informed.”

Details: According to one recent poll, 47 percent of Americans believe it’s difficult to know whether the information they encounter is true. About 60 percent say they regularly see conflicting reports about the same set of facts from different sources.

I think this is a very real problem in today’s political news environment. Unless people take the time — and make the effort — to read or listen to more than one source (even if it’s contrary to personal leanings), they are going to “swear” that what they’ve read or heard is 100% true and accurate.

And I daresay, nearly all of us are guilty. We tend to believe (and agree with) the sources that go along with our personal perspectives.

I admit it’s difficult to enter into the world of diametric information. It can often raise the blood pressure a notch or two. But if we truly want to judge a situation (or individual) without prejudice, it’s important to look at all sides.

As many have expressed, the news sources of today are greatly influenced by corporate dollars, which means they often focus on the events and happenings that will draw in the most readers/listeners. This is all the more reason why we need to consider all sources … even those with “low” ratings.

In one of my recent postings, I encouraged researching various news sources to determine how biased your favorite is. While you’re at it, take a look at the ones you find at the other end of the spectrum from yours. Most likely you won’t agree with their reporting, but it will help you to see and understand why your neighbors/friends/work associates disagree with your political views. And it just might open up an opportunity to share something they weren’t aware of. Perhaps you might even change their viewpoint!

And The Favorite Is …

Were you aware this is National Ice Cream Month? And Sunday, the 15th of July, is National Ice Cream Day! It’s true! Both of these proclamations were made by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. (You can read the entire text here)

Now, for those who participated in my recent blog post related to (yummy) Ice Cream, here are the results according to YouGovOmnibus research.

Are you surprised? Is your favorite listed? (Mine isn’t … I’m addicted to coffee-flavored ice cream!)

Did you know your tastes change as you age? And certain flavors are more predominant among certain genders and race lines? There’s a complete breakdown here (if you’re interested in that sort of thing).

The original article that started this whole thing can be found here.

So now I’m off to enjoy a BIG bowl of Coffee Ice Cream. YUM!

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for …

Just read an article about this delicious subject in which it revealed America’s favorite flavor.

The subject was so enticing that I decided to take a break from the usual “heavy” blog topics and focus on something much more fun and “appealing.” 😋

So, the question of the day is …
What’s YOUR Favorite Flavor?

I’ll reveal the results from the article after each of you have had a chance to share.

P.S. No fair guessing what the article said … just tell us what YOU like.
(Besides, you may be surprised.)

Reblog: Restoring Some Humanity To The Refugee Debate

This is a post that needs to be read by everyone, but especially those who support the Muslim (not immigration/refugee) ban.

Whistling In The Wind

I’ve noticed that most discussions about the refugee crisis discuss the issue in a very abstract way. The proposals are spoken of in a technical and hypothetical manner relating to various treaties, agreements and EU regulations, as well as figures about what may or may not happen. The discussion revolves around quotas and flows, as if refugees were something that come out of the tap. Even worse still, many opponents to refugee resettlement take a simplistic view of “Us versus Them”. “We” have a common culture and heritage that is apparently under attack. “They” are a strange foreign thing, incompatible with us.

View original post 1,325 more words

So You Want to Carry a Gun

I know I’ve written several posts lately on gun control, but it’s a subject that’s pretty close to home in that my “other half” is not only a gun owner, but also a supporter of the NRA (and thus, has a rather slanted perspective).

I am not totally against guns as I have owned and used them in my younger years. However, things have changed over time and gun ownership is not what it used to be.

If you’re tired of reading about this topic, you can just click away now.

Recently I did a bit of research into the state laws related to gun ownership and I noticed something that seemed to be missing in each of them.

The majority of states do NOT require a course in actual gun training and safety to purchase a gun.

Nearly all states require some sort of “background check” and will then issue a “license or permit to carry.” Some have a “waiting period” before the gun can be released, and a few require the potential owner to take a written “safety exam.” Some ask the potential owner to sign a waiver allowing access to mental health records.

Laws also vary depending on the type of gun (handgun or large gun) being purchased. Some large gun purchases have no restrictions.

There are even MORE variances among the states that I haven’t addressed here. In other words, it’s a conglomeration of “laws” and requirements that only the person who lives in that particular state would know.

What I want to point out in this posting is only the following states require any type of gun safety training:

  • Massachusetts requires safety training of all applicants. This includes instruction on: (1) the safe use, handling and storage of firearms; (2) methods for securing and childproofing firearms; (3) the applicable laws relating to the possession, transportation and storage of firearms; and (4) knowledge of operation, potential dangers and basic competency in the ownership and usage of firearms.
  • In the District of Columbia, an applicant must complete a firearms training and safety class and demonstrate knowledge about firearms laws, safe storage of firearms, and requirements for storage.
  • California requires anyone purchasing a handgun to obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate,  which means the applicant must pass a written safety test and, subject to limited exceptions, be required to perform a safe handling demonstration with the firearm in the presence of a certified instructor.
  • Connecticut requires safety training prior to issuance of any firearm permit.
  • Hawaii requires handgun permit applicants to complete an approved course that focuses on the safe use, handling and storage of firearms and firearms safety in the home.
  • Maryland applicants must complete an approved firearm safety training course that includes instruction on state firearms law, home firearm safety, handgun mechanisms and operation, and an orientation component that demonstrates the person’s safe operation and handling of a firearm.
  • Rhode Island applicants who wish to purchase a handgun and do not have a concealed handgun license and are not a member of law enforcement must complete a basic two-hour handgun safety course.

In my opinion, Massachusetts has the most comprehensive requirements (especially #4).

While the other states I listed require that a potential gun owner knows how to handle a gun and about its safe storage (especially if being purchased for personal safety), knowing something is far different than demonstrating your capability of actually firing the gun and hitting your intended target.

The thousands of people who are now purchasing and carrying guns in the wake of the mass shootings are, for the most part, totally ignorant of how to use a gun.

The NRA argument that the number of deaths at a mass shooting would be less if someone had a gun, carries little to no weight … UNLESS that person knows how to remove the gun from the holster, release the safety, point the gun, and shoot the perpetrator WITHOUT missing (because every stray bullet can kill).

And this can only be accomplished if the person has had actual training on using a firearm … and this knowledge has given him a clear head and accurate aim.

(Sidenote: The ignoramuses who “open carry” their “assault” rifles may know how to crawl through the brush to shoot a buck, but that’s a far cry from shooting a human being in a moment of stress.)

While I would prefer to live in a country without such easy access to guns, it’s simply not possible so I must endure the mentality of those who think guns are the answer to the dangers of society and who, in most cases, are incapable of actually knowing how to use one to protect themselves and those around them.