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I’m stealing this title and part of the post from David Waldman at DailyKos because it is just too perfect. Guns fail — never the people in whose hands they end up. Can we say “false attribution of agency”?
This week’s summary:
Among this weeks GunFAILers, we have three who shot themselves removing their guns from their cars, which I suppose lends support to the guns = cars crowd.
If you’ve been watching the local news in the last month, you have seen footage of soldiers leaving for the Middle East. There are several military bases in South Carolina and the flow of soldiers oversees has been constant. Every time I see such a story, I think of a high school friend.
His name was Allan Gaines, but we called him Yank. His family moved south during his early teens and he never lost his accent. When he graduated from high school in 1967, he joined the Marines and left for Parris Island.
Obama Wan Kenobi
I’m outraged. Here I am, working my ass off, trying my best to get along with people on the other side of the aisle, trying to get a Grand Bargain and they pull this latest crap. It’s not at all funny. When I first saw the picture we were at the water cooler just outside the Oval Office. I’d just separated Susan Rice and John Kerry. It was their third fistfight this week. (Rice is short but she has a temper and she was really kicking Kerry’s ass.) Anyway, it’s then that I see the picture falling out of Rice’s hands. Get this: the guy playing the Devil on the hit show, The Bible is my Doppelganger –my exact look-a-like.
After the Arkansas legislature overrode Gov. Mike Beebe’s not only pro-woman but also pro-taxpayer veto of an unconstitutional abortion ban the state will spend millions to defend, I speculated at Slate’s XX Factor about why the legislature thought that around 12 weeks was a good cutoff point for an abortion ban:
One reason that anti-choice legislators likely went with a ban at 12 weeks is that it’s an easier sell to the public than more aggressive bans…
It’s like 2011 all over again.
It was two years ago that, after Republicans claimed big gains in state legislatures across the South and country in the 2010 mid-terms, lawmakers made a national push for changes to voting laws, with one of the most controversial being restrictive bills requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls.
Now, with the 2012 elections behind them, state GOP leaders have again pledged to make voter photo ID a priority this year. But has the debate — and public sentiment about voter restrictions — changed this time?
Date on which U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) launched a talking filibuster protesting John Brennan’s appointment as CIA director, and raising concerns about the Obama administration’s policy on the domestic use of unmanned aircraft known as drones against U.S. civilians: 3/6/2013
Hours Paul spoke before he was forced to stop for a bathroom break: almost 13
Who'll Be Infallible?
Black Pope Cometh? Yankee Pope Goeth?
Lately, I am especially intrigued by odds and probabilities. This recent fascination can be traced back to last December when I was pondering whether to pay bills or buy Christmas gifts. The ultimate decision hinged on the odds of the Mayans being right in their prediction of an upcoming Apocalypse. Not long into the deliberations, I was poking around one of those gambling websites that handicaps various events. When it came to Mayan’s predictions, the site promised there “…is a better chance of the Pope quitting or a meteor hitting Russia next February than the chances of…
Big Fat Juicy Ones
Nobody likes me, everybody hates me,
I think I’ll go eat worms!
Big fat juicy ones,
Eensie weensy squeensy ones,
See how they wiggle and squirm!
That nursery rhyme is about as good as any to explain how the Sequester, with which we are now wrestling, came about. The Congressional leadership had a hissy fit and the Sequester is the result.
Clapper v. Amnesty International:
Associate Justice Alito Changes His Mind About Giving the Targets of Secret Surveillance a Day in Court
Surveillance was victorious over Liberty once again in the U.S. Supreme Court on February 26th. In a 5 to 4 vote in Clapper v. Amnesty International,the court overturned a decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that U.S. citizen attorneys, activists and journalists working on human rights issues have standing to seek a permanent injunction against the monitoring of their electronic communications with foreigners outside the country by U.S. intelligence agencies. The important work they perform requires privacy of communication so that their sources will give them information
Our Only Hope
While you were surfing the Internet, consuming video on-demand, texting on your smartphone, chatting on Facebook, or Tweeting about playing Halo 18, Neil Postman’s seminal 1985 work, Amusing Ourselves to Death, was coming true. Postman correctly predicted that while we were on guard against George Orwell’s Big Brother in the dystopian classic, 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World–the one where entertainment and self-indulgent behavior allows the political class to pull a fast one–emerged into our consciousness fully-formed.
We have awakened from our amusements, well, some of us, anyway, to find a world gone mad.
The joke going around now asks how much would you donate to save the entire U.S. Congress if it were held hostage by terrorists demanding $100 million and threatening to douse them all with gas and set them on fire. As a man going from car to car collecting donations in a long traffic jam tells one driver who wonders what everyone on average is giving: “Roughly a gallon.”
Even with the price of gas going up, I’d give two. With the “sequestration” …
Whither Goest Thou?
In a recent panel of the cartoon Non Sequitur, the young feminist Danae is told why she can’t be the next pope. In response to “Why not?,” daddy says: “Well… the most obvious reasons are, you’re not indoctrinated in the Catholic Church, you’re still a kid, and you’re a girl.” Later that night when one of her stuffed animals says, “Uh… really? He said you’re overqualified to be the pope?,” Danae replies, “Yep, that’s the way I heard it.”
Ever since mankind organized himself into governments, there’s been a need to pay for the services that governments provide. How to tax and what to tax has been, and will continue to be, a main topic of conversation. You may remember prior to when our government was being formed, there was a revolt against the “tea tax” that the British government sought to enforce. Yes, it was “Indians” who started that rebellion in the Boston Harbor. An early incident in this country centered around imposing the federal excise tax on whiskey.
2 Middle Fingers Up
Johnny “Bo-Bo” Boehner and Barack “O-man” Obama have done it again, once more on a nationally extended prime time stage. At the behest of their Big Casino puppet masters they’ve created a melodrama more compelling than “The Real Houseboys of Capitol Hill”, more comic than “Gimme Some Honey, Bo-Bo” and more horrifying than “Saw This: The K Street Crimes.”
Back when Big Koch Productions first took over Potomac Pork it was not immediately clear that the creative model for future presentations would be World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), but the theatrical styling and the White Hat/Black Hat faux conflict approach has bedazzled and enchanted the American public. As one wag put it: “The stupid just gets deeper and deeper.”
Perhaps that’s the problem. The Cons, people stuck in an antagonistic stance, can’t differentiate between words that sound so much alike. Or, they don’t want to be asked, tasked or taxed because they can’t respond. Poor Boehner. His “no, you can’t” rant really was more of a plaint, an expression of his own frustration, discovered in the other because the self is unknown.
No wonder “Yes, we can” was such a frightening anthem. It hit the nail on the head of the Cons’ problem — endemic incompetence.
Threat to Justice Everywhere
“I come no more to make you laugh…” Henry VIII, Act I, Prologue
Every day we read of people throughout the world in great danger, people who are running, walking, crawling, fleeing some oppressor. As they huddle together, the eyes that dart about in search of danger are the same ones that are drained of tears. They are people with the life nearly beaten out of them, people no longer able to laugh or share whatever is left of their existence. They are the ones who clasp onto their children, who are haunted by the ghosts of their parents lying behind in the dust. On the edge of a world they know is fast coming to an end, they sense this end will come suddenly and brutally for some; for others, it will be slower, more torturous.
It was a surprise bombshell for Catholics around the world when Pope Benedict XVI announced that he is retiring. As always, the worldwide church faces unusual problems in selecting the next pope.
In modern times, there is no precedent for a pope’s resignation. It’s been 598 years since a pope has left the church while living, the last with Pope Gregory XII in 1415 during what was known as the Great Schism.
I guess everybody has heard about 2012 DA14 by now. DA14 is an asteroid that’s going to zip by next Friday at a comfortable 17,200 miles above the Earth’s surface.
“But wait!” you exclaim, “that sounds close!”
Damn right. It’s closer than some satellites. There are a few troubling things about DA14, other than the fact it’s the size of an office building and could flatten a major city. First, the reason it’s called 2012 DA14 is that we didn’t even know it was there until last year.
Michael Parenti can always be counted on to provide an original twist, in this case to the old story of Empire. He refers to Imperial Forces as “batterers.” Given that the mainstream media is where most citizens get their information, Parenti’s view of the U.S. as a colonial empire will clash wildly with how those citizens likely understand world affairs. But the author, in his book, Against Empire, offers a persuasive argument for those willing to suspend belief for a moment in the “exceptional morality” of our government.
Largely missing in the current immigration policy debate is the reality that the legal treatment of immigrants is first and foremost a human rights issue. Altogether lost in that debate is that their treatment also has important implications for the rights of U.S. citizens. What Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Georgia and President of the National Lawyers Guild, makes absolutely clear in this January 24th interview is that the freedom of U.S. citizens and immigrants are inextricably linked.
Since Georgia will be choosing a new U.S. senator in 2014, what would be best consideration for the people of Georgia in picking this person?
One thing for certain: forget sheer logic, which is too simplistic a way for the voters of Georgia to act. After all, no matter what political race you consider, it’s not the reasonable logic about any of the candidates in the races that determines the winner. It’s always politics that enters the picture, as it probably should, in selecting the person to represent any geography in any election.
Watching Meet the Press yesterday, I almost choked on my breakfast when I heard Paul Ryan say with a straight face, “Immigration is a good thing.”
Those GOP strategy meetings last week must have simply encouraged Republicans to start saying the opposite of everything they have said for the past 20 years or so. Not a bad political strategy in my opinion, but America already has a party for liberals.
It's Just Money
As long as politicians continue looking up at a debt ceiling and forward at future spending, they will never have to confront the problem they so comfortably wallow in up to their necks today, a problem only they can fix: systemic waste.
Debate in Washington rarely turns to addressing the root of a waste problem which infects all levels of government. There are, of course, talks about how to cut spending, but cutting programs and funding does nothing inherently to cut waste.
It is an inescapable truism that “watch-dogs” are essential for the well being of us all. Too often those who are motivated by financial gain, expedience or power, seek to circumvent the laws and structures that serve to protect citizens and the environment.
And so we have the many organizations (and individuals) that devote their time and effort to remaining steadfastly vigilant. They don’t look for “issues” – they simply function as entities that can be contacted and called to action when questions and concerns arise.
It has been reported that Congress has stymied research on gun violence since 1996 by explicitly prohibiting the spending of dollars for such research by the Centers for Disease Control. Given that one of the main Congressional obligations is to “provide for the general welfare, the wanton killing of thirty thousand persons a year, most in the prime of life, coming up with a sensible strategy to prevent that would seem a reasonable thing to do. But, the Congress taking the opposite tack is actually quite rational.
Politics of War
There’s nothing anonymous about Death if you’re on the receiving end.
So said Robert Scheer recently on the NPR program Right, Left and Center in a discussion about the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense.
As we all know by now, Hagel was an enlisted NCO and recipient of two Purple Hearts during his tour in Vietnam, a war that I also was in. Hagel knows a lot about death and how young lives are constantly being lost in wars of questionable value where weaponry is never anonymous.
Having It Both Ways
Will 2013 be a year of wonders? Disappointed in 2012 by our delayed planetary doom/arrival of our ‘space brothers’ perhaps predicted on a Mayan stone calendar or the perennially postponed performance of the Antichrist? Well if the unendingly sour and dismissive conversation on CNBC’s Squawk Box can turn entertaining, as it did early on the morning of January 3, 2013, then anything is possible this year!
What could be the least bit diverting about the dreary business talk show that conservatives turn to when they begin to weary of the inanities on Fox News?
Worthy of Comment
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