Sunday, December 23, 2012

Turning Blood into Dollars

I didn't think for a minute that the NRA silence last week meant that they were worried.  True to form, they came out from under their rock with balls blazing.

As you've probably heard, NRA's evil spokesperson, Wayne LaPierre, stunned us all on Friday by taking absolutely no responsibility for the shooting of 20 children by assault weapon one week earlier.  Rather, he suggested we keep files on the mentally ill, and arm everybody else.

This is only clever in the sense that it worked.  The NRA was able to not only take back the debate with a vengeance, but round up in support every single paranoid gun wacko in the country.  AND, most important, provide a huge new market for the gun manufacturers that are the NRA's true constituency:  arming the schools.

Gun shops are doing a booming business, and the media isn't waiting to get on board.  The NBC Nightly News was happy to present a segment on how several schools are arming themselves and feeling relieved that their children are now being protected.

The NRA has stated that -- as a public service -- they will be more than happy to advise us on how best to arm our teachers and children.  Yes, they will help us find training programs for our children.

The saddest things about all this is that, the wackos may be far fewer than those of us who want to keep our children safe by outlawing weapons that might kill them, but the wacko faction is far louder.  They will be heard, and, as with the nuts that fell off the trees to attend the Health Care Town Halls a couple of summers ago, they will be showing up to fight for the right to bear arms.  The media will report it back to us, and they will drown out the moderate voices that are trying to find reasonable solutions.

My own local gun store:

is usually a quiet place, but over the past week, the parking lot has been full.  Folks out here aren't even going to wait for the next tax-free gun holiday.

And the NRA?  They're about as tickled as Chick-Fil-A last summer when all the gay bashers lined up to show their support for this good Christian organization.

Me, I just hope there are enough people that can hold onto their rage over our children and their teachers risking their lives so that Bubba can carry his erectile extender around.

All we have is words, BUT WE NEED TO SHOUT THEM OUT.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tim Scott on Gun Control

Good luck trying to find a comment from South Carolina's Tim Scott on gun control since the massacre of six-year-olds in Newtown.  Like his hero, Jim DeMint, and his bedfellows at the NRA, Scott knows when to keep a low profile.

But his pro-gun votes go way back, and there is no grey area in this issue for our Tim.  Like fellow House wacko Louis Gohmert, who "just wish to God (the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal) had an M-4 in her office," Tim can't imagine a situation that wouldn't be improved by a gun.

How does he know?  He prays on it.  And, amazingly, he and God have 100% agreement on this issue, as well as all others.

God doesn't talk to me so much, so I can only assume what the conversation was like.  I imagine God told Tim that our children might get gunned down from time to time, but, as God's buddy DeMint might say, "That's the way FreedomWorks."

And we may see his position on women's reproductive rights as intrusion, but I imagine Tim merely sees it as God giving us more babies to make up for the lives lost in acts of gun violence.  

At least Tim's pro-gun control stance aligns well with his anti-abortion sentiments:  he is 100% pro-life until birth.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another Cliff

As always, nearly everyone is saying all the right things.  Gun violence is bad, we have to do something about it.  We can't let it happen again.

Of course, there are the wackos who contend that the answer is more guns.  And that we should not go all hot-headed into talking about gun control right now.

Which has worked up till now.  And, I hate to say it, could work again.

The NRA, which is more a lobbying organization for the arms industry than for gun owners, has gone silent.  They know how to wait it out.

And too many gun control advocates are beginning in the middle.  They are talking about "at least" passing laws of which the majority of NRA members approve.  I actually heard someone suggest that if we only allowed guns with magazines half the size of the ones that were used Friday, then only half the children might have died.

I am hearing way too much reason in this debate and far too little outrage.

"Our friends on the other side of the aisle," as people who are not me like to call republicans, have shown more passion over preventing their taxes from going up.  We should be at least as uncompromising over the matter of assault rifles.

In fact, it would be my preference to immediately make private ownership of all guns illegal, and then we can start from scratch figuring out who really needs to own a gun.

Horrified?  Is that a worse solution than having one more innocent victim killed?

Honestly, that is a cliff that I really wouldn't mind seeing the NRA go over.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

No Time for Compromise

I was astonished last night to hear Rachel Maddow suggest that perhaps our debate on gun control should start with what is acceptable to the members of the NRA.  Her point of course was that, unlike the NRA, a majority of its members support a ban on assault weapons and licensing of gun purchases.

I have an alternate suggestion.  How about we start with banning guns and then debate which guns are safe and/or necessary?  How about we approach gun control with the same fervor the right wing brings to "no new taxes?"

For God's sake, we are talking about the fact that yesterday 20 elementary school children were killed.

Our children are locked down in schools, have teachers who are trained in shooter scenarios and these children themselves are drilled for such a potentiality.  Parents and children are searched going in to school, and there are strict rules about visitors.

How about this, folks:  the shooter was the son of one of the school's teachers; how hard to you think it would have been under any circumstance for him to get in?

Or this:  locking down the school and keeping out guns makes it safe only after the children arrive and until they leave.

This horrific incident seals the fact that guns in our culture make our lives -- and those of our children -- unsafe.  There are no amount of rules that will contain gun use to those which are legal.  They kill and they kill easily.   Tuesday's killing in Oregon and yesterday's loss of lives prove that licensing is irrelevant.

It's time to stop avoiding, for sure.  But it's also time to stop offering compromise.  Let's just use Grover Norquist as our model for this fight.  It's just that important. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Killing Our Children

18 elementary school children killed in Connecticut today.  The media says President Obama is "sympathetic."  Believe it or not, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has informed the press that today is probably not the day for debate on gun control.

How many more children will have to die before we have that debate?

I wonder the hold that the NRA has on our government.  To not even allow legislators (!) to bring up the issue.  And our smug Supreme Court justices, who are safe and secure, bringing down decisions that do not allow communities to protect their own.

It is time, Mr. President, for that debate.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Old News

Apparently, there really is not much to say about the shooting at the Clackamas Mall in Oregon on Tuesday afternoon.

A young gunman who everybody liked showed up with an AK-15 that he had stolen from someone and killed two, seriously injured one and then shot himself.

Where is the news in that?

I tried a google search for "Clackamas" and "NRA", and google suggested I may have misspelled NRA, but then offered me:

Search Results

  1. Oregon Firearms Federation - CHL Central
    Located in Clackamas, Oregon Firearms and Personal Protection Training Scott G Edwards, NRA Certified Instructor, RSO NRA Basic and ...
  2. Extreme Products - Home
    Extreme Products is your local NRA recruiter and is offering you $10.00 off on a 1 year... 12310 SE Hwy 212 Clackamas, Oregon 97015 Store: 503-657-4806 ...

before offering me an article by The Examiner.  So apparently even the NRA doesn't see the shooting as something they need worry about.

Let me allow The Onion to sum it up:

Authorities Not Even Going to Bother Looking for Motive Behind Oregon Shooting

Thank you, Onion, for nailing it again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How Many Deaths Will It Take?

It's after three o'clock, exactly two weeks before Christmas.  You are no doubt at work, which may or may not be at the Mall.  You may be doing some Christmas shopping.  And your older kids may well have headed to the Mall after school as well.

Yesterday in an Oregon mall a 22-year-old opened fire with the semi-automatic rifle he had apparently taken from a friend.  Fortunately, the gun jammed; "fortunately" only two were killed, one seriously injured, before the shooter turned the weapon on himself.

I really need not say that if semi-automatic and automatic guns were illegal, he would have had no one to take the gun from.  Someone's spouse, parent, or grandparent would still be alive.

You may recall the shooting not so many months ago in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, which resulted in the loss of 12 lives.  It would have been more if that shooter's semi-automatic had not jammed -- it had a 100-shot magazine.

Back in July, I watched in shock as our leaders, and the idiots at Fox News, commented that it was too soon to talk about gun control.

They must have been right, because our President, in his comments after that shooting, failed to mention the need for gun control.

In fact, being that irony knows no bounds, Jon Stewart just one day before the shooting, had provided a pretty concise play-by-play of the "when it's not appropriate to talk about gun control" game:

What amazed me most, then, about reaction to this deadly shooting, is that when I turned on MSNBC at noon today assuming the lead would be details about the tragedy, the talk was the same-old same-old bullshit about the damned "fiscal cliff."

What does this mean?  Has the media just decided we've become bored with the details of who's just shot whom?  Is there a minimum-dead rule that has had to go into effect so that viewers are not subjected to 24-7 reports of gun deaths?

I believe it is obvious that the NRA is mad with wealth and power, and that our media and legislators are controlled by the NRA.  This is a terrifying thought.

When a theater shooting ends in debate not of gun control but whether theaters should hold midnight viewings, when purses are searched and pat-downs at "The Sound of Music" are the order of the day, when South Carolina dimwits decide that the solution to crazed shooters in schools is to allow more shooters into schools to fight them off, when Christmas shopping is no longer safe...


Monday, December 10, 2012

Let the Games Begin -- So Soon???

I haven't yet had an anxiety dream over it, but when I left the shelter of Wadmalaw Island today to visit civilization, and read the Post & Courier article speculating about Haley's appointment to DeMint's Senate seat, I felt my little heart start to pound.

Because if Haley does appoint Tim Scott to the Senate seat (and Tim Scott's people are all over that), that would leave his House seat open.  AND there would be no appointment for that seat; we would be back to the voting booths, people.

Now I could name a grunch (i.e., greater than a bunch) of y'all who I would love to see have another go at that House seat.  We dems have no shortage of really good, really smart, really qualified people to run that race.

What worries me is that, in order to have a shot at winning, we would need three things:

1.  Money -- Those super-sized billboards you may have noticed cost bucks.  And for those many voters who get their news from FOX, it is going to take TV and radio ads galore to "inform" those folk.  Not to mention mailings to compete with the last minute quality stuff people like Peter McCoy might be sending out.

2.  Money -- If you've just recently run a campaign in this state, you just might not be able to quit your day job, or put your life on hold to do it again.  Those volunteers who worked their tails off in lieu of a paid campaign committee might really want to do it again, but I guarantee they will lack some of the verve they had not so long ago.

3.  Money -- All those awards officeholders like Tim Scott and Peter McCoy have gotten while in office don't come cheap.  You need to be willing to work for your money, and they have.  That means a nearly unending stream of funds from out-of-state big business lobbying groups with big pockets will be making sure that the republican candidate of their choice won't have to lose sleep over the race.  These are the real "party planners."

So, given that, to all you wonderful Democrats who have probably heard nothing since Thursday but, "Well, are you going to do it?" I would like to say, "So are you?"

Because if you are, I am with you.  Let's WIN THIS THING.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Taking the "Think" Out of "Think Tank"

The Heritage Foundation has pretty much always been more about greed than about smarts.  But yesterday, Jim DeMint announced his plans to dumb down the organization just that much more.

If you've been out of town, or perhaps on a space shuttle back from Mars, you may have missed Jim DeMint's resignation, effective January, from the Senate.  He tells us that his decision to accept the position of president of the Heritage Foundation is because the conservative movement "needs strong ideas."  This is like Big Bird trying to convince ETV that he is leaving to teach omelette making.

I see three reasons for Mr. DeMint's jumping ship.

First of all, he may not be smart, but he is shrewd.  I imagine he started to squirm as the national election results began to come in.  It appears he has decided to leave his Tea Party compatriots blowin' in the wind of the electorate's move to more progressive, less corporate, ideals.

Secondly, DeMint is hardly very smart, but he is greedy.  This move will bring him in many more dollars with which he can continue to fight taxation for the common good.

Finally, DeMint is most decidedly not smart, but he knows what he likes.  He does not like talking to people who will ask him annoying questions, or expect him to be accountable for his decisions.  His last election campaign, Running for Re-Election for Dummies, was aided by anonymous donors who vaulted the mysterious and comedic Alvin Greene into the Democratic nominee position, right over a candidate with brains.

Jim DeMint is right up there with Clarence Thomas when it comes to sulking and refusing to talk.  Both believe that their positions of power should not involve having to rub elbows with the peasants they rule.  Beyond that, they hate, hate, HATE being argued with, much less mocked.  It is my belief that DeMint still has nightmares over being the national laughingstock over his comments about single pregnant women not being allowed to teach.

Never again.  Just as Clarence Thomas will never be required to utter a word to anyone he deems beneath him, Jim DeMint will now be amongst like fellows.

So, I would like to join the Washington Post in saying that I'm tickled that you have decided to leave this august institution, making it just a bit more august than it was while you were there.  As South Carolina's own Representative Jim Clyburn pointed out, you didn't get along all that well with the other members of Congress, even those on your own side of the aisle.

I wonder how long before Heritage Foundation starts to realize just what they got themselves into....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Proud to Be Tim

Apparently, my soon-to-be-former congressman, Tim Scott, heard that I was going to miss him.  He has been spamming my email since the election.  I can only assume that he is revving up for 2014, and I am willing to bet that he is looking to replace Senator Jim DeMint when DeMint resigns from the Senate to become King of the Tea Party.

Tim always did want to grow up to be Jim DeMint.

Now, when I say Tim Scott is "my" congressman, it is in the sense that I might "have" a bad case of poison ivy.  It is only mine in the sense that I have to deal with it.

In his latest email, South Carolina's reigning African-American Tea Partier leads off with telling me how he is fighting to keep us from getting pushed off that fiscal cliff.  He is of course going to do it without raising taxes on job creators, because that would be "punishing success."


I would think that punishing success has more to do with the low pay we in South Carolina get for our hard work, or the high rate of unemployment for our high school and college graduates.  Or how about trying to make seniors work longer before they can collect social security benefits, and wait longer for Medicare benefits, after a life of contributing to both?  I'm thinking that voting against affordable student loans is pretty much punishing success right there.

Tim Scott is not afraid to brag that he has just received another one of those awards, this time the National Association of Manufacturer's Award for -- hold your hats -- Manufacturing Legislative Excellence!  Now I know the kind of awards our Tim gets, so I looked this bunch up.  Sure enough, they are an industry lobbying group.  You know, the guys who have a lot more money to throw around in D.C. than you or I do.  They want to help convince our legislators that, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency is an evil enterprise.  I guess Tim got the award because he didn't take that much convincing.

Apparently, he also sent holiday greetings to our troops overseas, which means a lot more to him than voting for bills that would improve the way of life of returning veterans.

Our Tim is never one to forget to send a card.

I wish the hypocrisy was funny, but it's not.  We really should be outraged that this fortunate young man pretends to care about the working class people in neighborhoods like the one where he was raised, and then votes repeatedly against those people.  He has thrown his lot in with the moneyed interests, who then give him phony-baloney awards for doing their bidding.

So, once again, shame on you Tim Scott.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dear Lindsey,

Apparently, in the midst of your identity crisis, you have decided to advertise on Daily Kos to get support for your Benghazi rant.  It must have been quite the thrill when you learned of Susan Rice's investment portfolio, which includes the company building the Keystone XL pipeline, and even better, that it was a "liberal" group (RootsAction) that is demanding her immediate divestment of those funds.

Wow.  Just step back and watch the Dems shoot themselves in the foot.  Hasn't happened for awhile.  You must have forgotten how good that feels.

Well, back to Benghazi.  You should step back a bit from those late night bitch sessions with John McCain, and realize just how crazy your paranoia really is.  You know there was nothing for Obama to gain by denying that terrorism was at the root of the attack weeks before the election.  If anything, terrorism would have gained him votes.  Let us not forget just how many free miles W. redeemed by playing the terrorism card.

Pardon me for mixing metaphors.  I am giddy with the insanity of the post-election right-wingnuts.

I have already gone on about how silly it is for you and grumpy old John to attack Rice's statements on the Sunday talk shows.  And then the old coot actually insulted her intelligence!

When I first heard the comment I was sure it had to have come from a Saturday Night Live skit.  But no, that was John McCain at his most irascible.  Don't you just want to grab him by the shoulders sometimes and say, "Look in the mirror, John!"

It is also obvious that the Republican strategy is to move Kerry out of the Senate and make way for Scott Brown, who, if I may remind you, lost the election.  I'm not going to say it's not going to happen because, well, we are Democrats, and we don't like easy goals.  But you can't deny it:  either you are plotting with the republicans so you can get that Massachusetts seat back (and maybe be able to ride around with Scott Brown in his pickup), or you are attacking a qualified African-American woman because you cannot admit that she is a qualified African-American woman.

Either case, Lindsey, I hope that you are smart enough to look to the future, like, two years into the future.  Those guys you've been hanging out with at home in South Carolina don't like you anymore.  You're left with the unpopular out of town kids, like John McCain.  You are very likely to be challenged by the Tea Party, because you will never be crazy enough to be accepted by them.  And while John McCain gives a good rendition of the Mad Hatter, he's going to make it harder for you to be friends with anyone on either side.  

So that leaves, well, just trying to do the right thing.  You have had bouts of that in the past, so I know you can do it. Just ask yourself what would Lindsey Graham do if Mitt was in the White House.  Because I know you wouldn't agree with him all the time either, but chances would be good that the arguments would be a bit more grounded in reality.