Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Thursday, January 31, 2013


This is rich. 

Over at Western Hero the other day contributor Finntann was beating up on some guy who advocates shaming people into dieting so that they won't have to deal with diabetes, heart disease, and other obesity-related maladies that could kill them. In addition to finding this the dreaded, over-the-top Nanny Statism, the consensus over at W.H. was that this was tantamount to Stalinism as well.

Well, it's a good bet that Fainting Couch Finntann won't be all huffy and puffy over the nut who wants to MANDATE gun instruction for first graders. 

Because the idiot who proposed this thinks that every six-year-old who takes this course will dutifully report the unsecured gun to an adult and not, on impulse, pick it up to see what it's about.

Because all six-year-olds understand responsibility and will remember to NOT touch that pretty, shiny gun that looks just like a toy.  And because there's always an adult around for six-year olds to report to.  

Apparently the starry-eyed Stalinist who proposed this legislation believes all children are being brought up in homes where responsible adults are available for little kids to report unsecured guns to at all times.

Here's where the Nanny-Statist who proposed this legislation should direct his gun safety requirement:  At all adults who purchase a firearm and all adults who own a firearm.  Any adult who stupidly leaves a loaded firearm unsecured in the home where children live or visit should receive mandatory jail sentences.  It is the adults who are the problem, not the children.  They are the victims of the gun-crazy adults who haven't the sense to secure their deadly weapons. 

Over 1400 deaths by firearms since Sandy Hook, December 14, 2013.  Many of them children.

"Missouri state Senate is considering a bill that would require all first graders in the state to take a gun safety training course. 

Using a grant provided by the National Rifle Association, it would put a “National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program” instructor in every first grade classroom. 

Pushing for its passage, Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, told the Senate General Laws Committee Tuesday that his bill was an effort to teach young children what to do if they come across an unsecured weapon.

[...] “I hate mandates as much as anyone, but some concerns and conditions rise to the level of needing a mandate,” Brown said. 

Senators watched a brief segment of the training video during the hearing. The segment featured a cartoon eagle telling children to step away from an unsecured gun and immediately report it to an adult."

Mother Jones: "A Killing Machine": Half of All Mass Shooters Used High-Capacity MagazinesMagazines holding more than 10 rounds were used in 31 of the 62 massacres.

"In the wake of the massacres this year at a Colorado movie theater, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, we [Mother Jones] set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years. We identified and analyzed 62 of them, and one striking pattern in the data is this: In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun. And in other recent (but less lethal) rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, those civilians not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed. 

Moreover, we found that the rate of mass shootings has increased in recent years—at a time when America has been flooded with millions of additional firearms and a barrage of new laws has made it easier than ever to carry them in public places, including bars, parks, and schools. America has long been heavily armed relative to other societies, and our arsenal keeps growing. A precise count isn't possible because most guns in the United States aren't registered and the government has scant ability to track them, thanks to a legislative landscape shaped by powerful pro-gun groups such as the National Rifle Association." --Mother Jones

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gabby Giffords at the US Senate hearing: "Americans are counting on you."

NOTE:  There were several folks at the event where Gabby was shot who were armed. NOT ONE OF THEM pulled their weapon and took down the shooter. The shooter was tackled to the ground while he was reloading.

 Gabby Giffords' husband, astronaut Mark Kelly: 

 I’m pro-gun ownership but anti-gun violence. Rights demand responsibility. This time must be different.

On another subject, we have some fabulously wonderful news:

Fox News Sinks to a 12 Year Low in Ratings as Obama Approval Hits 60%

In January, Fox News has its worst prime time month in the key age 25-54 demographic since August 2001. Greta Van Susteren had her worst month ever on the network, and her show registered the lowest prime time ratings for 10 PM on Fox since July of 2008. 

While MSNBC’s ratings were up 9% in total viewers, Fox News registered their single worst day with viewers age 25-54 July of 2008. 

 Meanwhile, a new poll released today by ABC News/Washington Post revealed that President Obama’s favorability rating has reached its highest level since November 2009. Obama’s favorability is now at 60%, and has grown ten points since the summer. 

Obama now has more more people strongly in favor of him (39%) than strongly opposed (26%). The president has a 60% favorable rating with Independents, and a 68% favorable rating with moderates. 

The president also has a 66% with young adults, and middle/lower income people. It is isn’t a coincidence that as approval of President Obama soars, Fox News’ ratings plummet.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Is a fetus a person?

The Catholic Church in Colorado and a long-standing rule in Colorado say no, a fetus is NOT a person.

What to make of this?

"Lori Stodghill was 31-one years old, seven-months pregnant with twin boys and feeling sick when she arrived at St. Thomas More hospital in CaƱon City on New Year’s Day 2006. She was vomiting and short of breath and she passed out as she was being wheeled into an examination room. Medical staff tried to resuscitate her but, as became clear only later, a main artery feeding her lungs was clogged and the clog led to a massive heart attack. Stodghill’s obstetrician, Dr. Pelham Staples, who also happened to be the obstetrician on call for emergencies that night, never answered a page. His patient died at the hospital less than an hour after she arrived and her twins died in her womb.

 In the aftermath of the tragedy, Stodghill’s husband Jeremy, a prison guard, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on behalf of himself and the couple’s then-two-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Staples should have made it to the hospital, his lawyers argued, or at least instructed the frantic emergency room staff to perform a caesarian-section. The procedure likely would not have saved the mother, a testifying expert said, but it may have saved the twins."

Here's where it gets strange:

"Catholic organizations have for decades fought to change federal and state laws that fail to protect “unborn persons,” and Catholic Health’s lawyers in this case had the chance to set precedent bolstering anti-abortion legal arguments. Instead, they are arguing state law protects doctors from liability concerning unborn fetuses on grounds that those fetuses are not persons with legal rights. 

 As Jason Langley, an attorney with Denver-based Kennedy Childs, argued in one of the briefs he filed for the defense, the court “should not overturn the long-standing rule in Colorado that the term ‘person,’ as is used in the Wrongful Death Act, encompasses only individuals born alive. Colorado state courts define ‘person’ under the Act to include only those born alive. Therefore Plaintiffs cannot maintain wrongful death claims based on two unborn fetuses.”

So here we have one of the most outspoken organizations on the "right to life" continuum saying that, in fact, in a long-standing rule in Colorado, a 'person' in a Wrongful Death Act is only an individual who is born alive."

If I read that correctly, a fetus is NOT a person--and the Catholic Church and the long-standing rule in Colorado do not recognize a fetus as a person.

 Reproductive Rights in Colorado:

 If you are a woman seeking reproductive health care in Colorado . . . It is your right to have a safe, legal abortion. Unfortunately, 87% of Colorado counties do not have an abortion provider.

So one of the most strident religious organization on the planet that is against ANY abortion for ANY reason is now saying that a fetus is not a person?  Well, then how can it be murder? 

Where is that loud-mouthed spokesman for the Catholic Church, Bill Donohue on this complete reversal of everything the Catholic Church has stood for on abortion?

Charlie Pierce nails it in this beautiful take-down of the galloping hypocrisy of the organization that is the Catholic Church on this issue.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Evening Funny

Why I love the Irish:

(The "culchie" she refers to at the end of the report is equivalent to the US term "redneck.")


Saturday, January 26, 2013

The anti-intrusive government GOPers are at it again!

I must read a dozen or more blogs by anti-government GOPers and libertarians howling about how the liberals are taking away their freedoms almost on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the GOPers try to impose invasive transvaginal probes on women; try to limit or deny a woman the right to a legal medical procedure that is none of their business--IOW do all they can to promote state-enforced pregnancies for girls and women, try to block legislation that would allow people who love each other the freedom to marry; and now come the crazies in Arizona--[Is there some sort of terrestrial magnet that attracts these sorts there?]--who are proposing this bit of government interference in the lives of freedom loving Americans--especially freedom-loving atheist Americans:

"Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists To Graduate High School 
January 25, 2013 By Hemant Mehta 

A group of Arizona politicians — all Republicans, of course — have proposed a law (House Bill 2467) requiring public high school students to recite the following oath in order to graduate: 

 I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God. 

To quote Comedy Central’s Ilya Gerner: “Nothing says ‘I take this obligation freely’ quite like a state law that withholds your diploma unless you swear an oath.” 

Kevin Bondelli adds: … graduating high school is not the same thing as voluntarily accepting the responsibility of a public office or admission to the legal bar. A high school diploma is, with extremely few exceptions, required to have a chance to live above the poverty level. It is the culmination of an education that up until that point was compulsory. 

 It’s bad enough the Republicans are demanding loyalty of the kind normally reserved for members of Congress and beyond — but there’s also no way I would say those last four words, and the current text of the legislation does not allow for any alternatives. 

 In other words, if this bill were to become a law, atheists would either not be allowed to graduate… or they would be forced to lie so they could graduate. Neither option is acceptable."

But...but...liberals want a NANNY STATE!

CAPT. FOGG over at The Swash Zone has more to say on this shameful and unconstitutional proposed legislation.


"The chairman of the Senate education committee, who last year unsuccessfully sought the teaching of creationism in schools, now wants public schools to have the option of beginning each day with the Lord’s Prayer. Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, Indiana, has filed a bill that would allow school districts to require the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, though individual students could opt out if they or their parents preferred. With Republicans holding overwhelming majorities in both the Indiana House and Senate and former U.S. Rep. Mike Pence preparing to take office as governor, some critics have anticipated an easy path for certain socially conservative issues in this year’s legislature. "

That should read "for certain UNCONSTITUTIONAL socially conservative issues..."   Obviously these nuts believe our Constitution is flawed, and they mean to amend it.
UPDATE on the Benghazi hearings and Secretary Clinton from GOP pundit Peggy Noonan:

"Lesson two came from Republicans on Capitol Hill. Conservatives on the ground are angry with them after the Benghazi hearings. Members of the Senate and the House have huffed and puffed for months: "It's worse than Watergate, Americans died." Just wait till they question the secretary of state, they'll get to the bottom of it. 

 Wednesday they questioned Hillary Clinton. It was a dud."

To all the vultures who were hoping to pick Secy. Clinton's carcass clean over this tragedy:  Na ga happen.  There was no cover-up; there is no scandal.  Now go back to what you excel at: harassing women, girls, gays, and atheists.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Night Ha-Ha

I love Stephen Colbert!


Smart, strong, resilient, and a Democrat.  

Well done, Secretary Clinton.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


The melonheads over FAUX NOOZ have been trying to pass off as historical fact the falsehood that Hitler disarmed the Jews and others in Germany, so that it was easy for the Nazis to grab power and become the murdering monsters that they were.

And that, curiously enough, brought the FAUX NOOZ nuts to the inevitable conclusion that President Obama, like NaziHitlerStalin, is about to do the same to every gun owner in this country.  To the stupids at FAUX NOOZ and their easily duped viewers, this is the unvarnished truth and YouKnowWho is coming to get you AND your GUNZ!

Sean Hannity:

“We don’t talk a lot about — what were the intentions of our founders and framers? And we have Stalin, um, we have Hitler, we have countries, tyrannical. They talked a lot about that.”

FAUX's Andrew Napolitano:

"There have been practical historical reasons for the near universal historical acceptance of the individual possession of this right. The dictators and monsters of the 20th century -- from Stalin to Hitler, from Castro to Pol Pot, from Mao to Assad -- have disarmed their people, and only because some of those people resisted the disarming were all eventually enabled to fight the dictators for freedom. [...] 

 If the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had had the firepower and ammunition that the Nazis did, some of Poland might have stayed free and more persons would have survived the Holocaust. "[, 1/10/13]

So what are the facts?  I'll let  "radicalcentrist" over at TPM explain:

"OK. What about Hitler and guns? Let's take a look: Hitler did not take away guns from Germans. He actually loosened the very strict gun laws of the Weimar Republic. He didn't rule Germany as a tyrant because Germans were unarmed; he stayed in power because most Germans at the time supported him. Armed opposition is no more effective than unarmed opposition against tyrants in our time. Look at the list of tyrannies that have fallen to non-violent protests: the Soviet Union, East Germany and all the East Bloc dictatorships, the military regimes in Argentina, Chile and Brazil, Mubarak, Tunisia, the Shah of Iran, apartheid South Africa, Marcos in the Philippines, and many others. Now look at the record of armed opposition-Libya- Qaddafi only fell because of NATO intervention; Syria-50,000 dead and the outcome is still uncertain. Let the record speak."

In answer to a statement from another commenter about Hitler taking guns away from the persecuted Jews:

"If your point is that he took guns away from Jews, the answer is that he took EVERYTHING away from Jews. The idea that the Jews of Germany would have somehow beaten off the SS in pitched shootouts is pure unadulterated bs. There were armed resistance groups in the occupied countries and while they were heroic, their effect on the outcome of the war was negligible. The Nazis were beaten by Allied armies, not ragtag bands with guns. If you'd rather, we could look at the record of armed resistance to the US Government, starting with Shay's Rebellion and the Whisky Revolt, down to the Black Panthers, Ruby Ridge and Waco. Who won all of those? And yet the peaceful protests of MLK, women's rights protests and anti Vietnam War achieved almost all their goals."

It's not just on FAUX NOOZ where we find these  hate-inducing hysterics.  I've been looking at right wing blogsand they are awash in the same feverish madness:  Comparing our American President Obama to Stalin, Hitler, and other 20th century genocidal murderers.

Did we actually believe that this nonsense would subside once Mr. Obama achieved his second electoral victory?   I didn't.  I assumed the crazies would double-down on their frenzied attacks on PBO.  And so they did.

The re-election of our country's first bi-racial president has caused hundreds of people to lose their minds and all sense of proportion in the issue over guns and gun violence.  Any movement to tighten the laws and restrict access to guns has caused them to suffer complete mental collapse.

Luckily, a majority of Americans have not bought into that insanity and stand with President Obama on wanting to find solutions to our national disgrace.

The malcontents who compare President Obama to Stalin, Hitler, and other monsters are a disgrace to reasoned discourse and clearly in the minority, eaten up by their self-defeating hatreds and bigotry.


January 23, 2013 Americans Back Obama's Proposals to Address Gun ViolenceCriminal background checks on gun sales garner highest level of support by Lydia Saad 

PRINCETON, NJ -- Given the chance to vote "for" or "against" each of nine key proposals included in President Barack Obama's plan to reduce gun violence, Americans back all nine. 

Americans are most likely to be in favor of requiring background checks for all gun sales (91%), increasing funding for mental health programs aimed at youth (82%), 
increasing funding for programs to train law enforcement and schools in responding to active armed attacks (79%), 
and increasing criminal penalties for people who buy guns for others -- so-called straw purchasers (75%).

Sunday, January 20, 2013

President Barack H. Obama, 2nd Inaugural, January 20, 2013

Well done, Mr. President.

All citizens of good will wish you well.

Here's a benediction [via Atheist Camel] that ALL Americans could embrace:

"Let's all use our humanity, self determination and common sense, to make this a better nation for everyone. Let’s re-establish the tradition of bridging divides by compromise as our Founders envisioned it. Let’s assess our needs and priorities and stop taking extremist positions…in any direction. Let’s quit demonizing those with whom we disagree, be it a fellow politician, or our neighbor down the street. Let’s quit depending on some story book character to take control and do something for us when all that does is breed false hope while shifting the responsibility for our nation’s direction away from our own minds and hands. Let’s grow the hell up and get to work. The lives and happiness of our children’s children depend on it. Amen.”

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gun Appreciation Day, January 19, 2013

December 14, 2012 - January 19, 2013

Thirty-six days after 20 six and seven year old children and six adults were slaughtered by firearms, the NRA and others are promoting a Gun Appreciation Day.  

Because a nation saturated with enough firearms for almost every man, woman, and child doesn't appreciate guns enough.

Because having a Gun Appreciation Day during the week that Americans celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. is what his family and those who love and respect him would deem a thoughtful and fitting tribute to a beloved American hero who was murdered by a gun.  

Because having Gun Appreciation Day the weekend before our first bi-racial president takes his second oath of office--a president who has had more death threats than any other president in our country's history is respectful of the office of the president of the United States.

Because the families of the victims of Aurora, Colorado, Virginia Tech, Casas Adobes, Arizona, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and numberless other cities and towns across America would like to show how appreciative they are of what millions of guns can do to their lives. 

Because having a Gun Appreciation Day that, in the twisted mentality of the morons who planned this atrocity, is the sensitive and proper way to celebrate the more than 30,000 deaths from firearms this country sustains every year.

"Firearms enthusiasts around the country are being encouraged to head down to their local gun shops on Saturday, constitutions and American flags in hand, to send a message to President Barack Obama about Second Amendment rights -- and, of course, to buy more guns. 

 The event is being billed as Gun Appreciation Day and has backing from white supremacist group American Third Position (A3P), Media Matters reported on Friday. A3P, which is listed on the Gun Appreciation Day website as a sponsor, does little through its own content to veil the fact that the political movement is dedicated to white supremacy. 

 In its mission statement, A3P writes that it "believes that government policy in the United States discriminates against white Americans, the majority population, and that white Americans need their own political party to fight this discrimination." It goes on, saying that the group aims to "stop the immigrant invasion" in order to put "America first!"

Yes.  This is exactly what the United States of America needs to do after burying those school children and adults a month ago.  We need to show the world how much we appreciate our guns.

The Right Calls Obama a Dictator, but Sarah Palin Disarmed the Alaska Civil Militia

Martin Luther King Did Not Agree With Gun Nuts and the NRA on the 2nd Amendment


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

“This is our first task as a society,” Mr. Obama said. “Keeping our children safe."

"This is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change.”

President Obama made his long-anticipated announcement to the country on what he intends to do, with or without Congress, to strengthen and enforce our gun laws.  He called for reinstating the assault weapons ban that was passed in 1994 and allowed to lapse in 2004.  He also proposed a high capacity magazine ban, 10-round limit.

The plan is a comprehensive effort that includes four major legislative proposals and 23 separate executive actions.

Some other proposals in the comprehensive package:

Require criminal background checks for all gun sales, 

Close the longstanding loophole that allows buyers to avoid such screening by purchasing weapons at gun shows or from private sellers. Nearly 40 percent of all gun sales are exempt from the system.

Strengthen the background check system by addressing legal barriers that keep some mental health records out of the database. 

Improve incentives for states to share records and direct law enforcement agencies to crack down on those who evade the background check system.

Ban the possession or transfer of armor-piercing bullets and urged lawmakers to crack down on “straw purchasers” who can pass background checks and then pass along guns to criminals or others forbidden from purchasing them.

All 23 proposals for executive actions on guns HERE.

The hysterical reactions by some on the right, even before President Obama's announcement today, is a depressing indication of how much of a fight this administration faces in implementing these proposals. But Mr. Obama has the American people on his side, and that is the most significant support he needs.  Clearly the NRA and its apologists and lackeys will play as dirty as they always have [see below] to block any effort to address our nation's disgraceful and unsupportable acceptance of death by firearms.

The NRA's predictably scurrilous reaction on Tuesday, before President Obama outlined his proposals, was execrable and foul.   It posted a video mocking Mr. Obama for opposing armed guards at the nation’s schools even as his own daughters have Secret Service protection. The video calls the president an “elitist hypocrite.”

The venal and evil people who run the NRA apparently are so convulsed with hatred against anyone who opposes them--very much like mafiosi thugs--they wallowed in the gutter and debased themselves by dragging the president's two daughters into debate.

Ron Fournier/National Journal: There are fair arguments to be had over Obama's proposals: Redefining the Second Amendment shouldn't be done without a vigorous debate. But to drag the president's daughters into the fight, and to question their need for security, suggests that the NRA is slipping further away from the mainstream. Over-the-top tactics discredit the NRA and its cause. Gun-rights supporters deserve a better advocate... "You have to wonder if they've got competent management," said a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to be openly gloating.

David Frum:
"[E]ven if the idea [of armed guards in school] were a good idea, the NRA's sneering references to the president's family are beyond the pale. As the makers of the NRA ad should know, and probably do know, the First Family has come under years of racially coded attack for their "uppityism," as Rush Limbaugh phrased it. This latest attack ad looks to many like only one more attempt to inflame an ancient American wound."

Michael Tomasky:
"Let’s start with the ad’s broken logic. A, the Obama family has Secret Service protection; B, other American families do not; C, because of this, Obama is an elitist and a hypocrite. It’s pretty ludicrous. Malia and Sasha Obama get lots of things because their father won the presidency. They also have a chauffeur; get to ride on a big fancy airplane free of charge and don’t have to endure any TSA-related indignities; live in a beautiful big house rent-free; and so on. By the ad’s logic, all of these are instances of hypocrisy."

AP: Americans were angrier about last month's horrific school shooting in Connecticut than they were about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

USA Today: In this town where tragedy relaunched the nation's debate over gun violence, people on all sides of the political divide expressed support Wednesday for President Obama's proposals to ban assault weapons and establish tighter background checks for gun buyers. 

Teachers Union Explains Why It Supports Obama’s Guns In Schools Plan But Not NRA’s

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Dark Vein of Intolerance


Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, angered a number of folks on the far right when he appeared on Meet the Press and gave his opinion on the state of the current Republican Party; and like good little knee-jerkers, a number of conservative blogs called him a "backstabbing lout," among other things, as well as calling for his head.

The old saying, "the truth hurts," applies perfectly well in this instance, thus the howls and caterwauling in  crescendos of pain coming from those quarters.  So what is their response? Attack General Powell!  Call him names, and then say he was never a real Republican anyway.  

Rinse repeat.  

Unable to see what is in front of their noses--actually refusing to see--they stomp their feet, squawking NO! NO! NO! and will continue to do so until, like Rumpelstiltskin, they'll fall through the floor into oblivion.

General Powell did the GOP a large favor when he stated this:

"There is also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party….They look down on minorities…When I see a former governor say that the president is shucking and jiving. That is a racial era slave term. When I see another former governor – says that the president was lazy. It may not mean anything to most Americans. But to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there is a third word that goes along with it."

Powell, the first African American to be the nation's top diplomat, went on to explain that his intolerance comment was directed at those in the GOP who "still sort of look down on minorities." He also said the Republican Party has to define what it stands for. 

 "If it's just going to represent the far right wing of the political spectrum, I think the party is in difficulty," said Powell, who said he voted for a GOP presidential candidate seven times in a row before voting for President Obama twice. "I'm a moderate, but I'm still a Republican."

Not in what passes as the GOP these days.  Unless General Powell is willing to attack President Obama--maybe even suggest assassination as a way to solve this country's problems--as I actually read on a far right blog--he will never be  listened to nor will his observations allow many on the right to do some sorely needed self-reflection.

Personally, this blog hostess has been attacked by extremist conservatives who have visited this blog and left comments.  The default slandering has always been either racial or sexual--but mostly racial.

The latest example was left in my comment moderation last week, with this cartoon specifically linked to my blog name.

I understand that people who do this are disturbed, and I emphasize that this is NOT the behavior of the several conservative commenters here who can argue their points without resorting to swinish behavior.  

The people who do engage in this sort of harassment either have no self-control, or they get off leaving rot like this on liberal blogs.  What brutish miserable lives they must live.  My point?  Why is the default always to leave racial slurs for these extremist conservatives?

Colin Powell has asked the question; it's up to conservatives who care about where the GOP is headed to answer it.


WaPo: Davidson, a retired software developer in South Carolina, has been predicting for four years that hardcore anti-Obama agitation would dissipate, but it keeps going, driven, he believes, by anti-black sentiment. “I’ve seen more openly racist remarks since the election,” he says. “Before November, they were careful to control the racist language because they were trying to persuade people to vote against him. Now they sort of don’t care.”

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Irrational Rant from an Irrational Gun Nut (NSFW)

Crazy Guy Yeager is apparently too stupid to know that President Obama cannot ban assault weapons or even close the gun show loophole without Congress.  But Mr. Obama can, if he chooses to,  enforce background checking and limit the importation of assault rifles.  I support this as a rational step toward sensible gun control.

 "By Thursday morning, the video promising violence in response to gun control measures had been removed from Yeager's YouTube page, but the link had not been removed from Facebook. Calls to Yeager and Tactical Response were not returned by the time of publication."  --via C&L

"The editors at The Denver Post have the right idea. They say Gov. John Hickenlooper's call for universal background checks and increased mental health funding is a good start, but a bigger, bolder plan is needed: 

 Hickenlooper's take on ways to prevent violence includes a call to change the state's standards for committing people with mental problems to make it easier to get them help. His proposal would bolster funding for the mental health care system by $18.5 million. Laudable ideas, to be sure. [...] With both chambers of the legislature controlled by Democrats, it's all but a lock those measures will pass, and the state will be better for them. Taken cumulatively, Hickenlooper's address was a reserved exercise that touched upon business and energy themes that appeal to Republicans and other issues and causes that have been supported by his fellow Democrats for some years. As such, he could have taken a bolder stance on gun control while maintaining his reputation as pragmatist." via daily kos

Monday, January 7, 2013

Twenty-three days ago...

27 Americans were slaughtered in Newtown, Conn., including six and seven year old children.

President Obama promised action on tightening gun control laws. 

I'm posting this to keep the issue in front of our noses.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)–author of the federal assault weapon and large ammunition magazine ban of 1994-2004–has said for weeks that she will soon introduce an even more restrictive bill. Leaders in the U.S. Senate have stated that January 22 will be the first day on which new Senate legislation can be proposed, so that is the most likely date for the new, sweeping legislation to be introduced.

As that date approaches, we need to keep in mind these facts:

Shooting sprees are not rare in the United States. Mother Jones has tracked and mapped every shooting spree in the last three decades. “Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii,” they found. And in most cases, the killers had obtained their weapons legally.

15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States. Time has the full list here. In second place is Finland, with two entries.

The myth of Israel and Switzerland gun ownership and violence:

Janet Rosenbaum: First of all, because they [Israel and Switzerland] don’t have high levels of gun ownership. The gun ownership in Israel and Switzerland has decreased. For instance, in Israel, they’re very limited in who is able to own a gun. There are only a few tens of thousands of legal guns in Israel, and the only people allowed to own them legally live in the settlements, do business in the settlements, or are in professions at risk of violence. Both countries require you to have a reason to have a gun. There isn’t this idea that you have a right to a gun. You need a reason. And then you need to go back to the permitting authority every six months or so to assure them the reason is still valid. The second thing is that there’s this widespread misunderstanding that Israel and Switzerland promote gun ownership. They don’t. Ten years ago, when Israel had the outbreak of violence, there was an expansion of gun ownership, but only to people above a certain rank in the military. There was no sense that having ordinary citizens [carry guns] would make anything safer.  MORE HERE.

Of the 11 deadliest shootings in the US, five have happened from 2007 onward. That doesn’t include the shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. [The death toll is 27, which makes it the second-deadliest mass shooting in US history.]

The South is the most violent region in the United States. In a subsequent post, Healy drilled further into the numbers and looked at deaths due to assault in different regions of the country. Just as the United States is a clear outlier in the international context, the South is a clear outlier in the national context.

More guns tend to mean more homicide. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center assessed the literature on guns and homicide and found that there’s substantial evidence that indicates more guns means more murders. This holds true whether you’re looking at different countries or different states.

 States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence. Last year, economist Richard Florida dove deep into the correlations between gun deaths and other kinds of social indicators. Some of what he found was, perhaps, unexpected: Higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness were not correlated with more deaths from gun violence. But one thing he found was, perhaps, perfectly predictable: States with tighter gun control laws appear to have fewer gun-related deaths. The disclaimer here is that correlation is not causation. But correlations can be suggestive.

America has a gun and violence problem:

I've been following discussions online at other blogs on this subject.  I've read comments saying people don't know the answer to the gun and violence problem here in the US.  The best way to find answers is to find what the facts are, then to come together to find solutions.   

Gun violence is a man-made problem; we will be able to solve it.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday Night Poetry


I was never a bishop, but the world's 
A dream we die in.  I breathe 

Into a blue robe, take day lilies 
From a jar out of her room

To a pail in the yard. Who would 
Believe the grass growing so quickly 

Between the bricks, the purslane 
Spreading like rash over the patio. 

We're done with her dresses, hangers 
And plastic bags, the trunk of yarn. 

Stepping over collapsed boxes of shoes, 
I carry the last collection of holy cards 

To the yard and burn the saints 
With matches, that from these may grow 

 In full sight of her in pure stone, 
 The other life, continuing long.


Saturday, January 5, 2013


Your modern Republican Party:

cartoon by David Horsey via Democratic Underground

(CNN) -- A suicide bomber walks into a bar. He shouts at the bartender, "Gimme the money, or I blow this place to bits!" The worried bartender hands him a wad of cash, and the bomber departs. The next day, the suicide bomber returns to the same bar. He shouts at the bartender, "Gimme the money, or I blow this place to bits!" "Are you nuts?" answers the bartender. "If I give you money every day, I'll go out of business. Plus, you're scaring away the customers." "I tell you what," replies the bomber, "Gimme the money, and I won't come back until the day after tomorrow."

 Michael Wolraich:   Welcome to the art of negotiation, Republican style. Since the election of 2010, the United States has narrowly averted three Republican-built suicide bombs: one government shutdown, one debt default and one fiscal cliff. We have two more scheduled for February: across-the-board spending cuts and another debt ceiling expiration. The Republicans' suicide strategy is a relatively new addition to American politics. Newt Gingrich pioneered the first government shutdown in 1995. It was so disastrous that no one tried it again for 16 years. In the meantime, Republicans pursued a more traditional method known as the democratic process. They campaigned for election and took control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives. From 2001 to 2006, the dominant Republicans passed plenty of conservative legislation. (They did not, however, reduce spending or balance the budget.)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The GOP: The Party of Shame.


"Morans" still making fools of themselves the halls of Congress.

Wow!   It has come to this? The GOP refused to give help to American disaster victims? 

I never thought a political party could stoop so low.  But I'm reminded almost daily how unreasonable and vindictive the GOP has become.  To refuse to bring this important legislation that helps victims of the latest disaster up for a vote is beyond shameful; it is inhumane.

 WASHINGTON -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) lit into House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Republicans Wednesday for not holding a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill. "There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner," he said.

"This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. Natural disasters happen in red states and blue states and states with Democratic governors and Republican governors. We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. Or at least we did until last night. Last night, politics was placed before oaths to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch."

House Republicans declined to schedule a vote for Sandy aid Tuesday night, after voting to pass a fiscal Christie said he was not given an explanation as to why the vote did not take place Tuesday. He added that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) placed a call to him at 11:20 p.m. to inform him that the speaker had decided not to schedule one. Christie then called Boehner four times, and Boehner did not call him back. 

 "There is no reason for me to believe anything they tell me," he said, referring to the House GOP.cliff deal. If the House does not pass a disaster relief bill before noon on Thursday, when the new session of Congress begins, lawmakers will have to start over.

 "Last night the House of Representatives failed that most basic test of public service, and they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state," said Christie. "Sixty-six days and counting -- shame on you. Shame on Congress."

h/t HuffPost

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

President Obama's Warning on Debt Ceiling

Will the Republicans bring us to the brink again?  Here's President Obama on that possibility:

"Cutting spending has to go hand-in-hand with further reforms to our tax code so that the wealthiest corporations and individuals can't take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren't available to most Americans. And we can't keep cutting things like basic research and new technology and still expect to succeed in a 21st century economy. So we're going to have to continue to move forward in deficit reduction, but we have to do it in a balanced way, making sure that we are growing even as we get a handle on our spending. 

 Now, one last point I want to make -- while I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed. 

Let me repeat: We can't not pay bills that we've already incurred."

Some historical perspective: 

"Republicans combined to vote for a debt limit increase 19 times during the presidency of George W. Bush. In doing so, they increased the debt limit by nearly $4 trillion. 

At the beginning of the Bush presidency, the United States debt limit was $5.95 trillion. Despite promises that he would pay off the debt in 10 years, Bush increased the debt to $9.815 trillion by the end of his term, with plenty of help from the four Republicans currently holding Congressional leadership positions: Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl. 

ThinkProgress compiled a breakdown of the five debt limit increases that took place during the Bush presidency and how the four Republican leaders voted: 

 June 2002: Congress approves a $450 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $6.4 trillion. McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor vote “yea”, Kyl votes “nay.” 

May 2003: Congress approves a $900 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $7.384 trillion. All four approve. 

November 2004: Congress approves an $800 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.1 trillion. All four approve. 

March 2006: Congress approves a $781 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.965 trillion. All four approve. 

September 2007: Congress approves an $850 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $9.815 trillion. All four approve. 

Database searches revealed no demands from the four legislators that debt increases come accompanied by drastic spending cuts.   In fact, the May 2003 debt limit increase passed the Senate the same day as the $350 billion Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. 

When Bush was in office, the current Republican leaders viewed increasing the debt limit as vital to keeping America’s economy running."

Worth Remembering: Republicans Usually Support Debt Ceiling Increases 

The majority of the debt ceiling raises under Bush were done with a Republican Congress. Even after the Democrats took over, the Republicans supported raising the debt ceiling.   Bush raised it 7 times, Clinton 4 times.

Will the Republican leadership hold this country hostage again and risk more financial uncertainty here and globally as the debt ceiling vote approaches?

I'm guessing it will, since  past behaviors are a pretty good indication of future actions.  

The real question is how President Obama will handle this next Congressional-induced crisis.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cliff Notes

Matt Iglesias:  "From the viewpoint I outlined on December 13—"Cutting Spending to Obtain Tax Hikes Is Nuts"—this is a decent deal. Relative to what Obama had already agreed to, there are no spending cuts whatsoever in this package. In exchange, he ended up securing much less tax revenue than he was initially looking for. That's an epic defeat for the Pete Peterson and "Fix The Debt" crowd, but even though liberals are disappointed with this they didn't end up actually losing anything the way they were going to in deals that cut Social Security benefits or raised the Medicare eligibility age. Conservatives, meanwhile, can say that in the face of an objectively unfavorable situation they kept taxes remarbly low and have maintained their leverage to press for further spending cuts in February."

The New York Times sees pluses and negatives in the deal: For the first time since President George W. Bush began the country’s long slide into debt by cutting taxes in 2001, an agreement was reached late Monday in the Senate to raise income taxes on the rich. 

That’s what makes the deal significant: assuming it is approved by the House, it begins to reverse the ruinous pattern of dealing with Washington’s fiscal problems only through spending cuts. Nonetheless, this deal is a weak brew that remains far too generous to the rich and fails to bring in enough revenue to deal with the nation’s deep need for public investments. 

Given that the Bush-era tax cuts expire on Jan. 1, Republicans were forced to give ground on their philosophical opposition to higher taxes, but they made it impossible to reach a farsighted agreement that truly grappled with government’s role in fostering improvements to education, transportation and manufacturing.

JimR's diary @ Daily Kos:
 "This greatest hoax in the history of American politics is only possible because almost half the country believes exactly the opposite of proven macroeconomic time-tested theory, and our own nation’s history. 

The entire debt debate is a farce and an insult to the collective intelligence of a formerly civilized nation. That’s right, America, we’re a laughingstock among countries. 

 In America, where the richest of the rich shelter their wealth overseas to avoid paying the taxes the rest of us end up paying for from our own pockets, where corporations took tax giveaways to subsidize moving infrastructure and manufacturing to low wage, environmental law-free hell holes and their intellectual property to tax havens, where 66% of Fortune 600 companies pay zero taxes in any given tax year and the largest get millions in refunds, where virtually zero net jobs were created in eight years after the Bush tax cuts, almost half the country believes Republican orthodoxy that our debt is the main problem, making the plutocracy pay their fair share raises taxes on “job-creating” small businesses, and entitlements must be slashed for our economic survival."

Professor Krugman:
"The good news for progressives is that danger #1 has been averted, at least so far — and not without a lot of anxiety first. Romney lost, so nothing like the Ryan plan is on the table until President Santorum takes office, or something.

Meanwhile, in 2011 Obama was willing to raise the Medicare age, in 2012 to cut Social Security benefits; but luckily the extremists of the right scuttled both deals. There are no cuts in benefits in this deal. 

 The bad news is that the deal falls short on making up for the revenue lost due to the Bush tax cuts. Here, though, it’s important to put the numbers in perspective. Obama wasn’t going to let all the Bush tax cuts go away in any case; only the high-end cuts were on the table. Getting all of those ended would have yielded something like $800 billion; he actually got around $600 billion. How big a difference does that make? 


 So why the bad taste in progressives’ mouths? It has less to do with where Obama ended up than with how he got there. He kept drawing lines in the sand, then erasing them and retreating to a new position. And his evident desire to have a deal before hitting the essentially innocuous fiscal cliff bodes very badly for the confrontation looming in a few weeks over the debt ceiling. 

 If Obama stands his ground in that confrontation, this deal won’t look bad in retrospect. If he doesn’t, yesterday will be seen as the day he began throwing away his presidency and the hopes of everyone who supported him."