Iraqi singer Kadim Al Sahir in Doha. Jan 2015.
Iraqi singer Kadim Al Sahir in Doha

Links, Notes, Bookmarks & Briefs For October 2, 2015

Updated throughout the day


Another mass shooting in the U.S. leaves ten dead and seven wounded. Yesterday’s massacre at at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, was the 45th school shooting in the U.S. this year, and the 142nd since the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School were gunned down. That’s an average of one per week. Ho hum.

President Barack Obama yet again was forced to address gun violence. “Somehow this has become routine,” he said. “We’ve become numb to this.” Obama’s statement in its entirety is here.

In The New Yorker, John Cassidy considers Obama’s remarks in Obama, Guns, and the Politics of Hopelessness:

“With the implacable grip that the gun lobby has on Congress, there is virtually no prospect of the United States following the example of nearly every other advanced country and restricting the supply of deadly firearms to civilians. Given that seemingly immutable reality, what is there left to say? Quite a lot, it turns out.”

Vox has a map of mass shootings –in the U.S., of course– since Sandy Hook.

And in The Onion: ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens


Don’t believe all the Kim Davis hype. The small town Kentucky clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples didn’t have a special audience with the Pope after all. The NY Times reports: Pope Francis’ Meeting Wasn’t an Endorsement of Kim Davis’s Views, Vatican Says.

Size Matters

World’s smallest snail discovered in China. How small? Ten can fit into the eye of a needle.


From Feature Shoot: John MacLean Pays Homage to His Favorite Artists by Photographing their Hometowns All Over the World

And the lead photo?

One of 11 images I snapped of Iraqi singer Kadim Al Sahir, one of the most popular and widely respected singers in the Arab world, performing in Doha, Qatar, last January.

His dark suit, coupled with the dim lighting, made trying to find the boundary between basic black and darkest black a very pleasant challenge. And fitting for this week’s WordPress photo challenge, whose theme is ‘Boundaries‘, and as today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 637th (!!) straight.


  1. American gun culture is a confounding tragedy. I once met this Californian in Guatemala and after getting to know him, risked offending him by telling him that i did not like/understand American gun culture. He concurred but said that people like himself will not allow themselves to be disarmed because of a deep-seated belief that when things get really, really corrupt at the White House, an armed populace will be the only way to remove them.

    1. That is of course a nonsensical argument and completely implausible, but never mind. The main problem is how spineless legislators have become and how out-sized the NRA’s influence has become. If a massacre like Sandy Hook, where 20 school children were gunned down, couldn’t force at least some action on regulation, then nothing will.

      1. Well, he didn’t present his beliefs to me as an argument but more as a glimpse into the psyche of an American deeply disillusioned with his government. So disillusioned he believed that there will come a day when violence is the only way to make political change. I mention it because it seems like the back door into the psychology of the issue. And I imagine the NRA exploits American fear of their government, no?

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