A Westboro Baptist Church member….a FAMILY member leaves the flock for failure of logic by the cult.

February 6th, 2013

 “My doubts started with a conversation I had with David Abitbol,” she says. Megan met David, an Israeli web developer who’s part of the team behind the blog Jewlicious, on Twitter. “I would ask him questions about Judaism, and he would ask me questions about church doctrine. One day, he asked a specific question about one of our signs—‘Death Penalty for Fags’—and I was arguing for the church’s position, that it was a Levitical punishment and as completely appropriate now as it was then. He said, ‘But Jesus said’—and I thought it was funny he was quoting Jesus—‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’ And then he connected it to another member of the church who had done something that, according to the Old Testament, was also punishable by death. I realized that if the death penalty was instituted for anysin, you completely cut off the opportunity to repent. And that’s what Jesus was talking about.”

To some, this story might seem simple—even overly so. But we all have moments of epiphany, when things that are plate-glass clear to others but opaque to us suddenly become apparent. This was, for Megan, one of those moments, and this window led to another and another and another. Over the subsequent weeks and months, “I tried to put it aside. I decided I wasn’t going to hold that sign, ‘Death Penalty for Fags.’” (She had, for the most part, preferred the gentler, much less offensive “Mourn for Your Sins” or “God Hates Your Idols” anyway.)

What “seemed like a small thing at the time,” she says, snowballed. She started to question another Westboro sign, “Fags can’t repent.” “It seemed misleading and dishonest. Anybody can repent if God gives them repentance, according to the church. But this one thing—it gives the impression that homosexuality is an unforgivable sin,” she says. “It didn’t make sense. It seemed a wrong message for us to be sending. It’s like saying, ‘You’re doomed! Bye!’ and gives no hope for salvation.”

She kept trying to conquer the doubts. Westboro teaches that one cannot trust his or her feelings. They’re unreliable. Human nature “is inherently sinful and inherently completelysinful,” Megan explains. “All that’s trustworthy is the Bible. And if you have a feeling or a thought that’s against the church’s interpretations of the Bible, then it’s a feeling or a thought against God himself.”

This, of course, assumes that the church’s teachings and God’s feelings are one and the same. And this, of course, assumes that the church’s interpretation of the Bible is infallible, that this much-debated document handed down over the centuries has, in 2013, been processed and understood correctly only by a small band of believers in Topeka. “Now?” Megan says. “That sounds crazy to me.”

In December, she went to a public library in Lawrence, Kansas. She was looking through books on philosophy and religion, and it struck her that people had devoted their entire lives to studying these questions of how to live and what is right and wrong. “The idea that only WBC had the right answer seemed crazy,” she says. “It just seemed impossible.”

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Native American Shuts Down Anti-Illegal Immigrant Protest: ‘Y’all Are All Illegal!!!’

February 5th, 2013

Pushing a toddler in a stroller, a rightfully irritated self-identified Native American began yelling at the group, saying:

“Y’all f*cking illegal. You’re all illegal. You’re all illegal!

“We didn’t invite none of you here!

“We’re the only native Americans here.

“That’s right. We’re the only native Americans here. Y’all are all illegal. We didn’t invite none of you! We didn’t invite none of you here. Get on, get on, get on with your bogus arguments.”

Visibly shaken, an unfortunate protestor quickly found himself in the cross hairs of the unexpected lesson when the Native American turned his attention toward his diminutive flag and now-increasingly inappropriate sign:

We should have put that sign up when you son of the b*tches came!”

“That [the flag] represents blood, that represents blood spilled by Native Americans protecting this land from the invaders. Yeah, that’s right, you don’t want to hear the G*d damn truth! Get on, b*tch! All the Native Americans you killed, you plant your houses here. That’s the truth.”

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Is inequality killing us? New report shows that shorter lives and poorer health will ultimately harm the US economy

February 5th, 2013

What do high Gini coefficients and diabetes, regressive taxation and cardiovascular disease, and low minimum wages and respiratory ailments have to do with each other? More than most people—even physicians and economists—may think.

It’s not news that economic inequality in the United States has sharply increased during the last 30 years. It’s also not news that super-sized soft drinks, the easy availability of assault weapons, and the lack of health insurance for 49 million people are tragically cutting many American lives short.

What could be big news is that inequality in the United States may be a factor contributing to Americans’ poorer health, especially compared to Western Europeans, Japanese, Canadians, and Australians. According to a massive new report by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, “U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health,” the United States ranks dead last among 17 rich countries in life expectancy and at or near the bottom in nine key health indicators, ranging from infant mortality, obesity, and heart disease to homicides, chronic lung diseases, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

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FOX NEWS says Alabama hostage taker had a “bunker”, patrolled his property with a flashlight and gun and listened to Conservative radio a lot

February 4th, 2013

This guy sounds like what Glenn Beck describes…..

Neighbors described Dykes as a man who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property, and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a firearm. Michael Creel said Dykes had an adult daughter, but the two lost touch years ago.

The Dykes property has a white trailer which, according to Creel, Dykes said he bought from FEMA after it was used to house evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. The property also has a steel shipping container — like those on container ships — in which Dykes stores tools and supplies.

Next to the container is the underground bunker where authorities say Dykes is holed up with the 5-year-old. Neighbors say that the bunker has a pipe so Dykes could hear people coming near his driveway. Authorities have been using the ventilation pipe to communicate with him.

Michael Creel said Dykes kept to himself and listened a lot to conservative talk radio.

“He was very into what’s going on with the nation and the politics and all the laws being made. The things he didn’t agree with, he would ventilate,” he said.

James Arrington, police chief of the neighboring town of Pinckard, put it differently.

“He’s against the government, starting with Obama on down,” he said.

Morris Dees of Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, a group that tracks hate crimes, said Dykes was not on the group’s radar.

Although the fatal shootings in December at a school in Newtown, Conn., are still on everyone’s mind, Dees said he doesn’t think Dykes was trying to be a copycat.

“Probably not. He had a whole bus load full of kids, and he could have walked up there and shot the whole crowd of them,” he said.

“I think he’s just a really angry and bitter guy with some anger management issues,” Dees said. “He is just against everything — the government and his neighbors.”

The mother of the 5-year-old boy is ‘hanging on by a thread,’ said a local politician who visited the woman.

State Rep. Steve Clouse, who represents the Midland City area, said the mother told him that the boy has Asperger’s syndrome as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Residents are praying for the safe return of the boy.

“The community is real concerned,” said Fred McNab, mayor of Pinckard, Ala. “You can tell by the food that’s been carried over there to the church. It’s just devastating. We want it to come to a resolution. We want to save that little child.”

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Charts: What if Obama spent like Reagan?

February 4th, 2013

In 10 of the past 12 quarters, total government spending and investment has fallen, dragging down the Obama economy. That’s in large part because state and local cutbacks have been so severe, but it’s also because federal spending and investment has, on the whole, been falling since 2010.

That made me curious: How does government spending and investment during Obama’s first term compare to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush’s first terms? … Whereas total government spending dropped in 10 out of the 16 quarters that comprised Obama’s first term, it rose in 13 out of Reagan’s first 16 quarters, and 13 out of Bush’s first 16 quarters.

Or, to put it differently, over Obama’s first term, falling government spending and investment snipped, on average, .11 percentage points of GDP off of (annualized) quarterly growth. During Reagan’s first term, it added .68 percentage points, and during Bush’s first term, it added .52 percentage points.

…these graphs simply establish a basic fact about Obama’s term: While deficits have indeed been high, government spending and investment has been falling since 2010. This is, in recent presidential administrations, a simply unprecedented response to a recession. Just for fun, I took Obama’s GDP growth, netted out the effect of government spending and investment, and then added the total government spending and investment numbers — which include state and local government — from Reagan’s first term. The result is a significantly better economy, with growth since 2010 averaging 3.2 percent rather than 2.4 percent.

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Dangerous gun myths

February 4th, 2013

But there is a more fundamental problem with the idea that guns actually protect the hearth and home. Guns rarely get used that way. In the 1990s, a team headed by Arthur Kellermann of Emory University looked at all injuries involving guns kept in the home in Memphis, Seattle and Galveston, Tex. They found that these weapons were fired far more often in accidents, criminal assaults, homicides or suicide attempts than in self-defense. For every instance in which a gun in the home was shot in self-defense, there were seven criminal assaults or homicides, four accidental shootings, and 11 attempted or successful suicides.

The cost-benefit balance of having a gun in the home is especially negative for women, according to a 2011 review by David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Far from making women safer, a gun in the home is “a particularly strong risk factor” for female homicides and the intimidation of women.

In domestic violence situations, the risk of homicide for women increased eightfold when the abuser had access to firearms, according to a study published in The American Journal of Public Health in 2003. Further, there was “no clear evidence” that victims’ access to a gun reduced their risk of being killed. Another 2003 study, by Douglas Wiebe of the University of Pennsylvania, found that females living with a gun in the home were 2.7 times more likely to be murdered than females with no gun at home.

Regulating guns, on the other hand, can reduce that risk. An analysis by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that in states that required a background check for every handgun sale, women were killed by intimate partners at a much lower rate. Senator Patrick Leahy, the Judiciary Committee chairman, has used this fact to press the case for universal background checks, to make sure that domestic abusers legally prohibited from having guns cannot get them.

As for the children whose safety Ms. Trotter professes to be so concerned about, guns in the home greatly increase the risk of youth suicides. That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics has long urged parents to remove guns from their homes.

The idea that guns are essential to home defense and women’s safety is a myth. It should not be allowed to block the new gun controls that the country so obviously needs.

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A Debunking of Pseudo-Historian David Barton’s Book on the Second Amendment

February 3rd, 2013

Barton gives no source for his story about those gun-toting kids of the 1850s saving their teacher, making that story impossible to fact check, but many of the other things he’s been saying can be checked. This is because they’re based on quotes that can be found in his 2000 book, The Second Amendment: Preserving the Inalienable Right of Individual Self-Protection, which, of course, contains a plethora of those footnotes he’s famous for.

Barton begins his book with the typical arguments — the all-or-nothing argument that people who support gun control laws think that only the police and the military should be able to have guns, and the argument that any laws whatsoever regulating an individual’s right to own guns are unconstitutional.

Barton divides the historical quotes he uses in his book into four chapters — I. Early Legal Commentaries, II. Views of the Founding Fathers, III. Early Legislative Acts, and IV. State Constitutions — saying:

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Bill Maher- the Right Wing talkers are CON MEN and FRAUD PERPETRATORS on Gullible people

February 2nd, 2013

Friday night during “New Rules” on Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher exposed right-wing pundits for the schemes that they use to pull in an audience and rake in millions of dollars. He warned liberals not to get too excited about the departure of Sarah Palin from Fox News because she’s now open to doing whatever scheme she wants under no contract but herself. Explaining himself, Maher singled out Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh in particular.

Maher described when Beck left Fox News he took his ”patented brand of apocalyptic race baiting” online where he was able to charge $9.95/month to those who subscribed earning him upwards of $80M last year alone.

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Alan Greenspan- I didn’t think bankers would lie. Hahahahahahaahahaha

January 29th, 2013

Alan Greenspan does not believe human tendencies apply to bankers.  Alan Greenspan must think we are fools.  Alan Greenspan is obiously a fool.

“Through all of my experience, what I never contemplated was that there were bankers who would purposely misrepresent facts to banking authorities,” Alan Greenspan, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, said in a phone interview. “You were honor-bound to report accurately, and it never entered my mind that, aside from a fringe element, it would be otherwise. I was wrong.”

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Socialism actually saves you money as opposed to paying for some things through the market. The market wants you to think differently of course so they can take your money unnecessarily

January 15th, 2013

EXAMPLE  American style capitalistic program for college: If you pay (average) $20,000 annually for four years of college, that will total $80,000 + interest for student loans. The interest you would owe could easily total or exceed the $80,000 you originally borrowed, which means your degree could cost in excess of $100,000.
 
EXAMPLE  European style social program for college: Your college classes are paid for through government taxes.  When you graduate from that college and begin your career, you also start paying an extra tax for fellow citizens to attend college.
 
Question – You might be thinking how is that fair? If you’re no longer attending college, why would you want to help everyone else pay for their college degree?
 
Answer – Every working citizen pays a tax that is equivalent to say, $20 monthly.  If you work for 40 years and then retire, you will have paid $9,600 into the Social college program.  So you could say that your degree ends up costing only $9,600. When everyone pools their money together and the program is non-profit, the price goes down tremendously. This allows you to keep more of your hard earned cash!
 
Health care is another example: If your employer does not provide health insurance, you must purchase a policy independently.  The cost will be thousands of dollars annually, in addition to deductible and co-pays.
 
In Holland, an individual will pay around $35 monthly, period.  Everyone pays into the system and this helps reduce the price for everyone, so they get to keep more of their hard earned cash.
 
In the United States we are told and frequently reminded that anything run by the government is bad and that everything should be operated by for-profit companies. Of course, with for-profit entities the cost to the consumer is much higher because they have corporate executives who expect compensation packages of tens of millions of dollars and shareholders who expect to be paid dividends, and so on.
 
This (and more) pushes up the price of everything, with much more money going to the already rich and powerful, which in turn, leaves the middle class with less spending money and creates greater class separation.
 
This economic framework makes it much more difficult for average Joes to ”lift themselves up by their bootstraps” and raise themselves to a higher economic standing.
 
So next time you hear the word “socialism” and “spreading the wealth” in the same breath, understand that this is a serious misconception.
 
Social programs require tax money and your taxes may be higher. But as you can see everyone benefits because other costs go down and, in the long run, you get to keep more of your hard earned cash!
 
Democratic Socialism does NOT mean taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  It works to benefit everyone so the rich can no longer take advantage of the poor and middle class.

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A screaming preacher from shortwave radio

January 12th, 2013

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Rachel Maddow Obliterates the Republican Lie that Obama has Blown Up the Deficit

January 12th, 2013

You would never know it from the way the deficit peacocks are crowing against this administration, but the deficit is now more that two hundred billion dollars smaller than it was when President Obama first took office. We are currently witnessing the fastest deficit reduction in this country since the end of World War II. That alleged big spending liberal, Barack Obama, has already signed into law $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction measures over the last decade. And that total could be even higher except that the deficit peacocks on the other side of the aisle in Congress keep balking at reduction ideas like cap and trade, and the Dream Act, and closing tax loopholes. All of which would reduce the debt and the deficit, and all of which are policies that Republicans used to like, until President Barack Obama said that he liked them too, then they turned against their own ideas.Even the dreaded Obamacare was one of the biggest debt reduction proposals considered in Washington since the Clinton era, and Republicans hate that with the heat of a thousand suns. So some talk the talk, and others walk the walk.

There is a school of thought that says that deficit reduction shouldn’t actually even be a national priority right now. As we slowly recover from the most brutal recession since the Great Depression, there is a strong case to be made that the government should just borrow away. The government should take advantage of how low interest rates are, should take advantage of a market in which the world is eager to loan us money right now. We could borrow like crazy right now, invest that money in job creation, and infrastructure, and economic growth. We could worry about debt reduction when we are fully back in our feet. If we took that strategy we would get fully back on our feet faster, and frankly in a more sustainable way, if we used that spending to invest in our economic strength.

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Unintentional shootings

January 11th, 2013

PROBLEM: Easy access to firearms leads to unintentional shootings in every age group in the U.S.

DID YOU KNOW? States with high household gun ownership have more unintentional shooting deaths than states with low household gun ownership.

•In 2010 in the U.S., 606 people died from an unintentional shooting (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)).

•In 2011,14,675 people were wounded in an unintentional shooting but survived (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC).
•The mortality rate from accidental shootings is 8 times higher in the four states with the most guns compared to the four states with the fewest guns (Miller, 2001, p. 481).

•For kids ages 5 to 14, the mortality rate is 14 times higher in high gun states than low gun states (Miller, 2001, p. 481).

•For kids ages 0 to 4, the mortality rate is 17 times higher in high gun states than low gun states (Miller, 2001, p. 481).

•For every age group, where there are more guns there are more accidental deaths (Miller, 2001, p. 483).

•For adults, keeping a gun in the home quadruples the risk of dying of an accidental gunshot wound (Wiebe, 2003).

DID YOU KNOW? A third of homes contain guns, many of them readily accessible.
•Thirty-three percent of U.S. households contain a gun (Pew, 2009), and half of gun-owning households don’t lock up their guns, including 40 percent of households with kids under age 18 (Johnson, p. 175).

•Both firearm prevalence and questionable storage practices (i.e. storing firearms loaded and unlocked) are associated with higher rates of unintentional firearm deaths (Miller, 2005, p. 665).

•A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used in a completed or attempted suicide (11x), criminal assault or homicide (7x), or unintentional shooting death or injury (4x) than to be used in a self-defense shooting (Kellermann, p. 263).
•Most unintentional shooting deaths occur in the home (65 percent), based on data from 16 states. The most common context of the death (30 percent) was playing with the gun (Karch, 2010).

•In almost half of unintentional shooting deaths (49 percent), the victim is shot by another person. In virtually all of these cases, the shooter and victim knew each other (Hemenway, p. 1184).

DID YOU KNOW? Unintentional shootings are a problem among children, teens, and young adults.
•For 5 to 14 year olds, the U.S. unintentional firearm death rate is eleven times higher than the combined rates of 22 other high-income developed countries (Richardson, p. 4).

•In 2010, 134 children and teens ages 0-19 were killed in an unintentional shooting (NCIPC).

•In 2011, 2,886 children and teens ages 0-19 were treated in an emergency room for an unintentional gunshot injury (NCIPC).

SOLUTION: We make it too easy for dangerous people to obtain dangerous weapons. There are only a few gun control laws on the books, and even those have loopholes. We should make it harder for convicted felons, the dangerously mentally ill, and youth to get the guns in the first place. We can do this by passing effective laws that make sense.

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Rep. Kyrsten Sinema Sworn Into Congress without a Bible

January 11th, 2013

In case you were wondering, newly-elected Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), the sole religiously “unaffiliated” member of Congress (but, whatever you do, don’t call her an atheist), was recently sworn in by Speaker of the House John Boehner:

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IMF Chief admits Republican austerity plan was a horrible idea for the US as it failed where it was implemented

January 11th, 2013

Consider it a mea culpa submerged in a deep pool of calculus and regression analysis: The International Monetary Fund’s top economist today acknowledged that the fund blew its forecasts for Greece and other European economies because it did not fully understand how government austerity efforts would undermine economic growth.

The new and highly technical paper looks again at the issue of fiscal multipliers – the impact that a rise or fall in government spending or tax collection has on a country’s economic output.

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Krugman explains more here
Believe it or not, the federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such stretch since demobilization from World War II.
 
In fact, outside of that post-WWII era, the only time the deficit has fallen faster was when the economy relapsed in 1937, turning the Great Depression into a decade-long affair.
 
If U.S. history offers any guide, we are already testing the speed limits of a fiscal consolidation that doesn’t risk backfiring. That’s why the best way to address the fiscal cliff likely is to postpone it.
 
Yet more proof that the fiscal cliff is a manufactured crisis of minimal importance.
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So when it comes down to it….thankfully we didn’t listen to the Republicans and President Obama walked this economic/political tightrope PERECTLY!

Paul Krugman Explains the Keys to Our Recovery to Bill Moyers

January 11th, 2013

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The Hidden History of the Second Amendment- It was added to the Constitution specifically to keep slaves in line

January 11th, 2013

Professor Bogus argues that there is strong reason to believe that, in significant part, James Madison drafted the Second Amendment to assure his constituents in Virginia, and the South generally, that Congress could not use its newly-acquired powers to indirectly undermine the slave system by disarming the militia, on which the South relied for slave control. His argument is based on a multiplicity of the historical evidence, including debates between James Madison and George Mason and Patrick Henry at the Constitutional Ratifying Convention in Richmond, Virginia in June 1788; the record from the First Congress; and the antecedent of the American right to bear arms provision in the English Declaration of Rights of 1688.

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The Hidden History of the Second Amendment

By Professor Carl T. Bogus
Roger Williams University School of Law
as published in the U.C. Davis Law Review

Synopsis

In his recent U.C. Davis Law Review article “The Hidden History of the Second Amendment,” Roger Williams University School of Law Professor Carl T. Bogus offers a thesis that could forever change the way Americans view the Second Amendment: James Madison wrote the Second Amendment to assure the southern states that Congress would not undermine the slave system by disarming the militia, which were then the principal instruments of slave control throughout the South.

The story begins in Richmond, Virginia in the summer of 1788. Since it had been proposed by the convention in Philadelphia two years earlier, the Constitution of the United States had been the focus of an intense struggle. By its own terms, the Constitution required ratification by at least nine states; if that were not achieved the United States would not come into being. The Federalists were working hard for ratification, but anti-Federalists were opposing them with equal vigor. Although eight states had ratified the Constitution, most of the remaining states seemed to be leaning the other way, and it was uncertain whether a ninth state would be found. The last and best hope was Virginia, where the Federalists and anti-Federalists were about equally divided.

It was with high drama, therefore, that the Virginia ratifying convention convened in Richmond in June 1788. Madison led the forces for ratification, and as its principal author, no one understood the Constitution better. Yet the opposition was equally formidable. The anti-Federalists were led by George Mason, the most intellectual of the anti-Federalists, and Patrick Henry, who was considered the greatest orator of the day.

Mason and Henry made many arguments against ratification, but one of the strategies they devised was particularly shrewd. Virginia was nearly half black, and the white population lived in constant fear of slave insurrection. The main instrument of control was the militia. So critical was the militia for slave control that, in the main, the southern states refused to commit their militia to the war against the British. The Constitution, however, would transfer the lion’s share of the power over the militia to Congress. Slavery was becoming increasingly obnoxious to the North, and southern delegates to the Philadelphia convention demanded and got an agreement, somewhat cryptically written into the Constitution, that deprived the federal government of authority to abolish slavery. Mason and Henry raised the specter of Congress using its authority over the militia to do indirectly what it could not do directly. They suggested that Congress might refuse to call forth the militia to suppress an insurrection, send southern militia to New Hampshire, or�and on this they harped repeatedly�disarm the militia. For Virginia and the South, these were chilling prospects.

The Federalists prevailed, but just barely. Although Virginia ratified the Constitution, Madison limped out of the Richmond Convention. Half of Virginia was still anti-Federalist, and the anti-Federalists were determined to end Madison’s political career. Losing a bid to the United States Senate, Madison was reduced to running for a House seat. Patrick Henry had Madison’s congressional district gerrymandered to include as many anti-Federalist areas as possible, then recruited a rising young star�James Monroe�to run for the seat.

Monroe campaigned as a champion for a bill of rights. Madison had previously been opposed to a bill of rights, but it was not a popular view. Cognitive dissonance set in, and Madison persuaded himself that he had only been opposed to a bill of rights prior to ratification. He promised the electorate he would support adding a bill of rights to the Constitution.

Madison won the election, and he went to Congress politically committed to supporting a bill of rights. When he drafted that document, he included a provision that with minor modifications became what is now the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

In his 99-page article, Professor Bogus argues that the evidence�including an analysis of Madison’s original language, and an understanding of how he and other founders drew on England’s Declaration of Rights�strongly suggests that Madison wrote this provision for the specific purpose of assuring his constituency that Congress could not use its newly acquired power to deprive the states of an armed militia. Madison’s concern, Professor Bogus argues, was not hunting, self-defense, national defense, or resistance to governmental tyranny�but slave control.

The “hidden history” of the Second Amendment is important for two reasons. First, it supports the view that the amendment does not grant individuals a right to keep and bear arms for their own purposes; rather it only protects the right to bear arms within the militia, as defined within the main body of the Constitution, under the joint control of the federal and state governments. At the time, the southern states extensively regulated their militias and prescribed their slave control responsibilities. Second, the hidden history is important because it fundamentally changes how we think about the right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment takes on an entirely different complexion when instead of being symbolized by a musket in the hands of the minutemen, it is associated with a musket in the hands of the slave holder.

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FOX News mocks Al Gore selling Current to AlJazeera….however anti-US news network in the Middle East is owned by FOX News

January 11th, 2013

As the ink still dries on the Current TVAl Jazeera deal, Fox News has unsurprisingly sounded the alarm on Al Gore’s “anti-American” nature. However, as Jon Stewart pointed out on last night’s Daily Show, somehow they’ve overlooked boss Rupert Murdoch’s twenty-percent stake in Rotana, an Arab station co-owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and accountable for airing Valley of the Wolves, a film in which American soldiers massacre Iraqi civilians and sell their organs to Jews. “Rupert Murdoch profiting from the airing of that type of anti-American propaganda?” says Stewart. Say it ain’t so. Stewart did concede that “Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel has broadcast some very hateful stuff,” and that it’s a subsidiary — along with Al Jazeera English, the news station that will be airing in Current’s place — of the Qatar-based buyer, the Al Jazeera Media Network.

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How people die – lots of gun deaths

January 11th, 2013

Notice that Suicide, firearm homicide and accidental firearm discharge add up to 3 entries for guns.

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U.S. Is Unhealthier Than Any Other Rich Country, Report Says

January 11th, 2013

The report, based on findings from the Institute of National Medicine and the National Research Council, looked at health stats of people younger than 50 in 17 wealthy countries. A panel of experts reported that Americans are less healthy throughout their entire lives and die earlier than people who live in those 16 other countries, which include Japan, Switzerland, and Australia.

The basic takeaway is that, at every stage of life, Americans are sort of screwed. In general, we’re more likely to die before age 50 than people in any other country in the report. Our infant mortality rate is higher than all the other countries and American youth have the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancy.

Drug use and violence are particular problems in the states: Deaths from alcohol and drug abuse are more common here than in any other country included in the report. And the report notes that the rate of firearm violence is 20 times higher than in 22 other wealthy countries.

The report also found some gender differences. Only about one third of deaths among American males are disease-related; other causes of death include murder, traffic accidents, and suicide. For women, on the other hand, more than half of the deaths are disease-related.

Pretty much the only piece of good news for Americans is that we aren’t doing worse in terms of cancer screening and mortality, control of high blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking rates, and suicides, though it’s unclear exactly how advanced we are in these areas.

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More concerning the Founding Fathers and gun nuts

January 10th, 2013

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The Nazis never confiscated guns

January 9th, 2013

And the truth is that no gun law was passed in Germany in 1935. There was no need for one, since a gun registration program was already in effect in Germany; it was enacted in 1928, five years before Hitler’s ascendancy. But that law did not “outlaw” guns, it just restricted their possession to individuals who were considered law-abiding citizens, and who had a reason to own one. And there’s no reason to consider that law particularly significant, either; the NAZIs didn’t seize control of their own country with gunpowder. They used a much more potent weapon: propaganda.

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The Second Amendment and what the Founding Fathers thought

January 9th, 2013

Thom Hartmann explains the Second Amendment.  It was created to protect the American government.

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Republicans do not understand how the government works

January 9th, 2013

Thom Hartmann explains the punches that the Republicans throw often times come back at them.

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Thom Hartmann talks to Alex Jones about the Piers Morgan interview

January 9th, 2013

Yes Alex Jones did prove that the gun nuts are nuts.

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The Second Amendment has been reinterpreted to fit gun manufacturers and their profits

January 9th, 2013

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Glenn Beck merely stole the insane paranoid schtick from Alex Jones

January 9th, 2013

In the world of nut case right wingers there is no creativity. 

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Glenn Beck says Alex jones is crazy

January 8th, 2013

Want to know who the media wants to make the face of the pro-gun argument in America? Look no further than conspiratorial radio host Alex Jones, best known for his 9/11 Truther theories and his love of Charlie Sheen’s hernia. Jones is the man behind the petition to deport CNN host Piers Morgan for his views on gun control. Morgan invited Jones onto his show to debate the gun issue yesterday, and not surprisingly, Jones made a fool of himself, giving the left the perfect poster boy for their attempts to paint every logical conservative as an extremist nut job.

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Bill Moyers Essay: Remember the Victims, Reject the Violence

January 8th, 2013

Video is located here

Gun nut killed by gun

January 8th, 2013

An operator of a highly popular YouTube channel dedicated to high-powered guns and explosives was found mysteriously shot to death, authorities said.

Keith Ratliff, who was a business partner at FPSRussia, YouTube’s ninth most popular channel with more than three million active subscribers and a combined half billion views, was discovered on a rural road in Carnesville, Georgia.

Ratliff had a single gunshot wound the head and police are treating his death as a homicide.

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‘1776 Will Commence Again If You Try to Take Our Firearms!’: Watch Alex Jones Lose His Mind on Piers Morgan’s Show

January 7th, 2013

Hours after he was arrested for refusing to take off his shoes at a TSA checkpoint, Alex Jones lost his damn mind during an interview with Piers Morgan on Monday night. Jones, the conspiracy mad radio host who helped start the petition to have Morgan deported for his gun control advocacy, said all sorts of amazing insane stuff — it definitely merits watching in full — but here are some highlights.

When Morgan asked about the relatively low level of gun-related violence in Britain, Jones barely let him finish before launching into a bizarre rant that somehow managed to include references to Mao, Castro, Stalin and the recent gang rape in India.

Video is located here

Limbaugh and Beck guilty of PAYOLA?

January 4th, 2013

Dick Armey completely implicates Limbaugh and other RW talkers in an interview after leaving FREEDOMORKS

Story is located here

The law regarding this issue is here

More analysis from the interview is located here

Germany makes twice as many cars and pays their workers twice as much. WHY?

January 2nd, 2013

In 2010, Germany produced more than 5.5 million automobiles; the U.S produced 2.7 million. At the same time, the average auto worker in Germany made $67.14 per hour in salary in benefits; the average one in the U.S. made $33.77 per hour. Yet Germany’s big three car companies—BMW, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), and Volkswagen—are very profitable.

How can that be? The question is explored in a new article from Remapping Debate, a public policy e-journal. Its author, Kevin C. Brown, writes that “the salient difference is that, in Germany, the automakers operate within an environment that precludes a race to the bottom; in the U.S., they operate within an environment that encourages such a race.”

There are “two overlapping sets of institutions” in Germany that guarantee high wages and good working conditions for autoworkers. The first is IG Metall, the country’s equivalent of the United Automobile Workers. Virtually all Germany’s car workers are members, and though they have the right to strike, they “hardly use it, because there is an elaborate system of conflict resolution that regularly is used to come to some sort of compromise that is acceptable to all parties,” according to Horst Mund, an IG Metall executive. The second institution is the German constitution, which allows for “works councils” in every factory, where management and employees work together on matters like shop floor conditions and work life. Mund says this guarantees cooperation, “where you don’t always wear your management pin or your union pin.”

Does such a happy relationship survive when German automakers set up shop in the U.S.? No. As a historian observes in the article, “BMW is a German company and it has a very German hierarchy and management system in Germany,” yet “when they are operating in Spartanburg [in South Carolina] they have become very, very easily adaptable to Spartanburg business culture.” At Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant, the nonunionized new employees get $14.50 an hour, which rises to $19.50 after three years.

The article’s author, Kevin C. Brown, asked Claude Barfield, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, why the German car companies behave so differently in the U.S. He answered, “Because they can get away with it so far.”

Read the complete Remapping Debate article here.

A Republicans explains exactly why Republican positions do not work.

January 2nd, 2013

When your stance is, “I am in this for ME.” well you are going to be stepping on toes very soon.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is going after his fellow House Republicans after party leaders pulled a Hurricane Sandy relief bill from a floor vote on Tuesday, saying that New York and New Jersey residents should stop giving these lawmakers political contributions.

“I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds,” he said in an interview on Fox News. “Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace.”

The House adjourned on Tuesday night without passing the $60.4 billion Sandy relief package that the Senate approved last week. The 113th Congress will be sworn in on Thursday, meaning that the House and Senate would have to restart the entire legislative process if it takes it up.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told CNN that money will be approved in the next Congress.

“FEMA has plenty of money, there’s no immediate needs,” he said, referring to the federal agency that distributes disaster relief. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said in early December that the agency had $4.8 billion to distribute and could fund Sandy programs through early spring — a comment that House Republicans have pointed to as a reason not to rush the bill.

In a follow-up interview on Wednesday morning, King criticized Rogers for his comment.

“First, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” said King on CNN. “Besides that, Hal Rogers has no problem coming to New York and raising money to put money in his pocket when he wants to raise it from New Yorkers. Secondly, the FEMA money was limited to $31,000 [for individuals]. That’s not going to rebuild businesses.”

“Hal Rogers can play his game. He can suck up to the Republican speaker if he wants to, but … stay out of New York. Raise your money down in Kentucky,” he added.

King also raised the possibility that he would vote against reelecting House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to his leadership post in the 113th Congress, saying, “My world turned upside-down last night, so I’m holding every vote in abeyance for now.”

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Peter Orszag’s Chart Of The Year Could Change Everything You Think About Healthcare And The Federal Budget

December 29th, 2012

The conventional wisdom on the deficit is: Right now the deficit doesn’t pose a problem, but thanks to the gigantic growth in healthcare costs, it’s inevitable that the government will get swamped by Medicare spending, ergo we need to tweak the system.

 Peter Orszag, who was the head of the Office of Management and Budget under Obama, and who is now at Citi, offers up a chart that could be a Medicare costs game-changer.

His chart of the year is found in Wonkblog’s annual awesome The Year In Graphs feature, which everyone should check out.

The chart is taken from S&P’s twice-per-year deep dive into healthcare inflation, and it shows that contrary to expectations, Medicare inflation (the annual year over year growth in the cost of a delivering a unit of care) is slowing dramatically, and is well below almost every other category of healthcare spending (which are also dropping).

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This Crazy Map Has One Dot for Every Person in the United States

December 29th, 2012

Map is located here

An FBI review of gun violence

December 26th, 2012

According to the FBI SHR data, in 2007 there were 7,387 black homicide victims in the United States. The homicide rate among black victims in the United States was 20.86 per 100,000. For that year, the overall national homicide rate was 5.30 per 100,000. For whites, the national homicide rate was 3.11 per 100,000.

Of the 7,387 black homicide victims, 6,345 (86 percent) were male, and 1,042 (14 percent) were female. The homicide rate for black male victims was 37.59 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall rate for male homicide victims was 8.56 per 100,000. For white male homicide victims it was 4.63 per 100,000. The homicide rate for female black victims was 5.62 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall rate for female homicide victims was 2.11 per 100,000. For white female homicide victims it was 1.61 per 100,000.

 For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 79 percent of victims (166 out of 210) were murdered by someone they knew. Fortyfour victims were killed by strangers.

Report is located here

Grenade Launchers not really tough to get in Kentucky

December 26th, 2012

Video is located here

Mitt Romney might have been another George W Bush

December 24th, 2012

George W Bush famously said he wanted to be baseball commissioner or retire or be President.  Of course unfortunately he became President twice and the world is still trying to recover from it.  Now apparently Mitt Romney didn’t want to be President at all despite running for President for 19 years?  Either Tagg and Mitt Romney are lying or we were THISCLOSE to electing another President who NEVER wanted to be President AT ALL.  Which is it….it is one or the other.

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Several Christmas facts debunked

December 24th, 2012

Several Christmas stories make the rounds annually and they are just not true.  Here is a debunking of a few.

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America is 30% white guys but 70% of mass shooters are white guys

December 24th, 2012

What if they were Arabs or black?  We would be asking “what to do about these Arabs” but that question is not being asked with the present demographic makeup of shooters.

In the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, I appeared on CNN to discuss the racial double standard evident in the way America reacts to crimes committed by white men. When white guys commit violent crimes, their transgressions are individualized. But when people of color commit violent crimes, their transgressions are unduly projected onto whole demographic groups. This double standard, I argue, is an expression of white privilege.

Video is located here

New President of the NRA has a son who has done prison time for using a gun in road rage incident

December 23rd, 2012

If all goes as expected in Pittsburgh today, American Conservative Union President David Keene will be elected president of the National Rifle Association at the organization’s board of directors meeting.

One person who presumably will not be attending the event is Keene’s son, David Michael Keene, who according to news reports and trial documents was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for a 2002 road-rage incident in which he fired a handgun from his moving vehicle at another car on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia.

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If we have more guns in schools a huge issue are the bullets that miss the criminal

December 23rd, 2012

The Presumptive Hazards of Over-Penetration
Failures to stop a suspect because of under-penetration, poor bullet placement, and completely missing the target are far more significant problems than over-penetration. With shots to the center of mass, if a handgun or rifle bullet fails to have enough penetration to reach the large blood bearing vessels and organs in the torso, rapid physiological incapacitation is unlikely and an opponent may remain a lethal threat to officers and citizen bystanders. Conversely, if a bullet fired by officers completely penetrates a violent criminal and exits downrange, the bullet will certainly have had enough penetration to reach the large blood bearing vessels or organs in the torso. As a result, it is more likely to have caused sufficient hemorrhage to induce hypovolemic shock–the only reliable method of physiological incapacitation in the absence of CNS trauma.

Unfortunately, according to the available published date, the majority of shots fired in the field by U.S. LE officers miss their intended target. According to published NYPD SOP-9 data, the NYPD hit ratio by officers against perpetrators in 2000 was 12.3% of shots fired and in 2001 13.5% of shots fired. The Miami Metro-Dade County PD had hit ratios ranging between 15.4% and 30% from 1988-1994. Portland PD reported hits with 43% of shots fired at adversaries from 1984-1992, while Baltimore PD reported a 49% average hit ratio from 1989-2002.

Given that the reported averages for LE officers actually hitting the suspect ranges between 12% to 49% of shots fired, more concern should be given to the between 51-88% of shots fired by LE officers which completely MISS the intended target and immediately result in a significant threat to any person down range, rather than excessively worry about the relatively rare instance where one of the 12%-49% of shots fired actually hits the intended target and then exits the perpetrator in a fashion which still poses a hazard.

In short, the consequences of projectile under-penetration are far more likely to get officers and citizens killed than over-penetration issues.

Comment:
Since approximately 80% of shots in deadly force encounters completely miss their targets, it is hard to imagine that a bullet which somehow manages to pass completely through a human body is inherently more dangerous than the other four that went whizzing on by!

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100,000 people are shot every year

December 22nd, 2012

If you add together the gun deaths and the non-fatal gun injuries, you get 104,852 people shot every year. That’s very close to what the Facebook post said. The Facebook post was also close in its daily averages — 287 people shot every day, and 86 deaths by gun every day.

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If you think you NEED a gun you are the person that should NOT HAVE a gun

December 21st, 2012

Let’s all say it together to these NRA gun nuts….YOUR GUNS ARE A PHALLIC SYMBOL. That is all they are….a demented extension of a penis which is why 99.7% of mass killers and 99.5% of killers of 1-2 people are…..MEN. You think your giant phallic symbol is going to take over the nation if it is needed or form a militia and it will do something. Actually….just like the penis of those demented men….it ain’t gonna do JACK because the very people who think they need a gun to gain FREEDOM are the ones that are suffering from low self esteem and they are the ones that should absolutely NOT HAVE A GUN. GUNS…..are…..phallic…..symbols for men who feel “wronged” or are loaded with fear or paranoia of something that is not there…..and nothing more. Ask any psychiatrist and once you get past saying you have a NEED for a gun….your mental state is in question….and your guns should be taken away from you immediately. You are not a sportsman you are not a hobbyist…..your very core BEING is supported by this inanimate object. You are suffering from a mental addiction….meaning your are mentally unstable….and your item of instability can kill people as opposed to being addicted to Starbucks…meaning….you have no business TOUCHING a gun let alone owning a big gun of any kind.

If someone is mentally ill enough to think about killing people….. all the detriment in the world will not stop them from trying. So forget about prison/death stopping a killer since that will stop rational people and by definition killers are irrational. So there is no way WE will stop them from starting it. If someone is going to attack and a gun is accessible the chances of them killing just rose geometrically. If high powered guns are not accessible the death fatalities will be lower by definition and if NO GUN is accessible the chance of someone dying drops even more. Fewer guns=fewer deaths caused by a derange individual. It is PHYSICS and ARITHMETIC.

So you are going to arm EVERYONE and that will make EVERYONE safe? Let’s go to the movie theater shooting from just a few months ago. Attacker comes in and starts shooting….so HERO #1 begins shooting at the PERCEIVED direction of the attacker. So now HERO #2 starts shooting HERO #1 because HERO #1 is shooting in a theater and he needs to be stopped. HERO #3 begins shooting HERO #2. Now….part of the equation is the fact that once a gun is fired the shock and sound concussion has just rendered everyone’s balance and stability physically out of whack and then the adrenaline factor is added. Everyone is so jacked up now they might as well be on a crack bender. You think you are SAFER now with all those guns? IF you think this is SAFETY your bar of delusional state is quite low. The theater simply has a bunch of killers and THEN the police get there with all these HEROES shooting and the police level them all. Just like the shooting at the Empire State Building EVEN THE POLICE shot innocent bystanders. Welcome to America!!!!!!

The Constitutional MILITIA was the NATIONAL MILITARY protecting us from other nation invaders as the first 4 words in the Constitution explain. We did not have a standing army…many national leaders didn’t even WANT a standing army….and the people WERE the army. Fast forward today….we HAVE an army and police….therefore the militia as written in that dated paragraph is 100% unneeded. The FREE STATE clause is not our STATE but the NATION. In order to keep our nation free against other nations the people will have guns like a volunteer fire department operates…..but our national military defense seems to be big enough now so the concept of people having guns is not needed. People can make a militia?? You are saying the Nation of Islam arming itself is a good thing and you support it then…..or WACO was a good thing with Koresh and his guns. Oh I see….YOU want to make a militia???? Where is your medical team….where is your Admin team….where is your complete infrastructure of support personnel allowing you to remain totally OFF THE GRID for months and months? People who say “let’s start a militia” never think past the wearing cammo jammies in the woods and SHOOTIN THEIR GUNS. And this militia you are creating……you mean your 400 pound LIFE REJECT high school GED buddies from Chattanooga Adult School are going to be able to walk a distance at all let alone be in true combat? They are going to die from lack of Twinkies and brown glop to drink. Then they are going to shoot their squirrel rifles at a tank and WIN??? hahahaha….. When you think you need a militia in today’s climate basically it is driven by ignorance of basic governmental civics….paranoia and low self esteem. I tell you what….take your buddies to Afghanistan and see what a REAL militia is with the Taliban who are far more physically capable than anyone reading this. After 2 days you and Chattanooga’s Pride will be falling dead from lack of insulin to battle their diabetes and be dying from lack of Socialized Medicine of America. We have police…we have a national military and if you don’t like the way they work we have elections to change things. If you disagree then you have 0 faith in the Constitution and you have 0 faith in America and you have 0 faith in AMERICANS. You are not an American but you are counter to the concept and laws of America. Just imagine all those MORBIDLY OBESE GOOBERS running 10 yards after a tank hahahaha. Don Quixote is laughing in his grave while his sidekick Sancho Panza masturbates thinking of how long a 400 pound goober takes to biodegrade in the hot Georgia sun if he doesn’t have his daily case of GooGoo Clusters and 23 bottles of YooHoo.

As long as we have guns people will be killed by guns. As long as we have assault weapons people will be killed en masse from those big guns. We DO HAVE weapons of Mass Destruction and they are assault weapons and we have terrorists on our land they are the paranoid ones with a boogeyman under their beds they wet screaming about a militia they have no idea how to coordinate. Either we do away with them or they will do away with us.

Now prove to us all your level and depth of paranoia (or low self esteem) creeping around in your skull in responding to this because a real man does not need a gun to make himself feel secure. Possibly the bravest people America has seen were the Freedom Riders who walked right up to the police that stopped them from going across a bridge because black people couldn’t go there….and the police simply clubbed them down one by one. The Freedom protestors marched in line right up to the police.. one by one…they stood tall…..were struck….winced in pain as they fell to the ground and they made their social statement….and you know what…..THEY WON…..WITHOUT GUNS and without CAMMO JAMMIES and phallic jacked up pickup trucks. The nation said they were correct and the long arc of justice which took a while to turn….turned towards justice for those people who were truly wronged….which is what happens….BECAUSE WE ARE AMERICA. Militias are nothing more than a small Confederacy which is absolutely contrary to America as 1865 proved.

And if you think you NEED a gun you are the LAST person that should HAVE a gun….let alone an assault weapon.  Go get a Viagra prescription before you kill us all.

 @JoeWo

To live and Die in America

December 21st, 2012

Huffingtonpost homepage 12/21/12 5:30pm PST

TO LIVE AND DIE IN AMERICA

3 Shot And Killed In Mich… 18-Year-Old Shot Multiple Times, Dies… Man Kills Wife, Teen, Himself… Man Shoots, Kills Own Son… Cops Shoot Teen Dead… Man Gunned Down In Parking Lot… 5 Dead In Spate Of Shootings… 2 Murdered In Philly… 2 Kansas Cops Shot Dead… Shooter Killed… 4 Die In Apparent Murder-Suicide… Ga. Cop Dies From Gunshot… Argument Leads Teen To Shoot Friend… Man Shot To Death…Teen Dies After Being Tied Up, Shot… Man Shot Dead In Street… Drug Deal Leads To Shooting Death… Mother Of 2 Killed In Road Rage Shooting… Man Shoots, Kills Intruder… 1 Killed In Coney Island… Man Dies From Gunshot Wounds… Cops Investigate Gun Death… Shooting Victim’s Body Found On Bike Trail… Man Charged With Shooting Own Brother Dead… Man Dies After Being Shot In Chest… Body Of Shooting Victim Found In Pickup… Teen Arrested For Robbery Shooting Death… Man Carrying 2-Year-Old Son Shot Dead… Man Fatally Shot Near Home… Parolee Dies In Shooting… 1 Killed In Buffalo Shooting… Man Shot Dead In Apartment Complex… Street Gun Battle Kills Grandma Bystander… Man, Woman Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide… Woman Shot Dead By Intruder… 14-Year-Old Arrested Over Fatal Gun Attack…Man Found Shot Dead In Parking Lot… Woman Shot In Face By Ex-Boyfriend… 1 Woman, 3 Men Shot Dead… 2 Die In Attempted Robbery… Army Reservist Shot To Death In Alley… Man Shot To Death In Bodega… 2 Shot Dead In Burned House… Man Shot During Break-In… Man Fatally Shot… 20-Year-Old Gunned Down… Man Shoots Self During Police Pursuit… 1 Killed In Baltimore Shooting… Cops ID Shooting Victim… 60-Year-Old Man Shot Dead… Shot Man’s Body Found In Vacant House…. Woman Shot And Killed Outside Her Home… Shooting Victim Was ‘Trying To Turn Life Around’… Slain Shooting Victim Found In Street…. Driving Altercation Leads To Shooting, 1 Dies… 3-Year-Old Dies In Accidental Shooting… Man Turns Self In After Allegedly Shooting Wife… Man Shot Dead Outside Home… 3 Slain In Separate New Orleans Shootings… Cops Investigate Shooting Death… Man Shot Dead In Ohio… Teen Shot To Death… Man Dies After Being Shot Multiple Times… Man Charged Over Son’s Shooting Death…Cops Find 2 Men Shot Dead… 1 Dies In Shooting… Man Charged Over Gun Killing… 1 Shot Dead In Confrontation… Man Charged With Murder Over Shooting… Motel-Owner Shot And Killed… Husband Shoots Estranged Wife Dead… Suspect Arrested Over Deputy’s Shooting Death… Police Probe Fatal Shooting… Cops Kill 2 Suspects In 3 Shooting Deaths… Man Killed Fighting Back Against Robber… Man Killed In Home Invasion…. Nightclub Shooting Kills 1… Child Brain Dead After Drive By Shooting… Man Charged Over Shooting Of Ex-Wife…Body Found In Vacant House… Teen Fatally Shot…

Lawn Darts killed a small handful and injured a few thousands. Lawn Darts were banned. Guns? Not so much.

December 21st, 2012

The fight to ban lawn darts
Broadcast: April 4, 1989 | Producer: Paul Moore; Researcher: Richard Wright


In the 1980s, Lawn Darts was a popular game. In some cases, it was a deadly game. The U.S. government considered them dangerous and pulled them off the shelves. They were banned after one man tirelessly lobbied politicians following the death of his daughter.
David Snow’s seven-year-old daughter was playing alone in her front yard in 1987. Some other children on another property were playing with a set of lawn darts. Someone threw a dart too hard. It went over the fence and pierced the girl’s skull. She died from her injuries three days later.

For six weeks, Snow was overcome with grief. Then he got angry. He quit his job and started a one-man campaign to have the toys banned. He spoke to politicians, and appeared before the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the United States.

The commission told him that with only two dozen injuries from lawn darts, a ban wouldn’t be likely. Snow suggested they check their figures again.

Over a 10-year period, 6,700 people in the U.S. were treated in hospital for injuries from lawn darts. 75 per cent of those were children. Three of the children died. CPSC research showed that a lawn dart thrown a short distance lands with a force of 23,000 pounds per square inch.

David Snow’s campaign struck a chord with Congress. The U.S. government passed a law banning the sale of lawn darts. That same week, a lawn dart pierced the skull of an 11-year-old girl from Tennessee. After more than a week in a coma, she recovered.

 

 

 

A commissioner of the CPSC says if it wasn’t for David Snow, lawn darts would still be sold in the U.S. Snow says his is a bittersweet victory. He knows the ban won’t bring back his daughter.
As of April, 1989, you could still buy lawn darts in Canada. The federal government said it had no record of Canadians being injured by lawn darts. The Canadian Pediatric Society called for a ban on lawn darts saying if there were injuries in the U.S., there would be some in Canada, too.

One problem is that Canada did not have as sophisticated a data collection system as the U.S. Dr. Richard Stanwyck of the Society said if you divide the number of injuries in the U.S. by 10, that generally gives a good indication of Canadian statistics. He asked Canadian pediatricians to send him information on any lawn dart injuries they treated. He sent that information to the federal government.

Marketplace interviewed a man from Verdun, Quebec whose skull was pierced by a lawn dart eight years earlier. His doctor said he was very lucky to recover, and had the dart hit an area of the skull mere centimetres away, the consequences could have been fatal. Both men wanted lawn darts banned in Canada.

David Snow did take his fight across the border into Canada. He contacted Consumer and Corporate Affairs, requesting that lawn darts be taken off the market. He found their lack of co-operation disappointing.

No one from the department would appear on camera, but wrote a letter saying they would closely monitor the safety of the product. The department also said it intended to warn parents to keep lawn darts away from children, and suggested a voluntary warning on packages to the same effect.

That warning had been on packages in the U.S. since 1970, but there were still roughly 700 injuries per year.

Since our story…

Lawn darts with elongated metal tips were banned for sale in Canada in 1989.

Health Canada says there have been no deaths in Canada from lawn darts. The only injury data we have is from the Canadian Hospital Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP). It’s limited because it only covers children who are seen in emergency rooms of 10 pediatric hospitals and five general hospitals in Canada. CHIRPP started collecting data from the 10 pediatric hospitals in April of 1990, and from the five general hospitals between 1991 and 1995 — after lawn darts were banned.

The data suggests that as of July 2001, 10 children went to hospital after being injured by a lawn dart. But within two weeks of his request, Dr. Richard Stanwyck received information on 60 lawn dart injuries to children in Canada.

 Story is located here

 

Why are there so many guns in America?

December 20th, 2012

Look at the numbers. In the United States, there are 3.2 gun homicides per 100,000 residents every year. Switzerland has the next highest rate of any advanced Western democracy, at 0.7 per 100,000. After Switzerland, the rate drops to 0.5 in Ireland and Canada; 0.4 in Sweden and Finland; 0.2 in New Zealand, Spain and Germany; 0.1 in France, Britain and Australia; and a flat 0 in Japan.

Want to argue that we have 32 times the rate of dangerous mental illness that they have in Australia? That Americans are characterologically 16 times more murderous than Spaniards or Germans? I thought not.

But in America, people who snap are a hell of a lot more likely to have a gun close by. The rate of gun ownership in the United States is 89 per every 100 people. No other advanced society has a rate even close to that. In Austria, France, Germany, Norway and Sweden, the rate clusters between 30 and 32 guns per 100 people. In Britain, the rate is six guns for every 100 Brits.

The idea that guns make a place more dangerous rather than safer is borne out within the United States. The states with the highest level of gun homicides — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama — are among those with the highest levels of gun ownership.

None of this is to argue against the need for better mental health treatment and counseling. But unless an incomprehensibly higher share of Americans are dangerously deranged than are Frenchmen, Aussies or Swedes, the way to bring down the number of deaths by gunshot is to reduce the number of guns.

That may not be quite the Sisyphean struggle that we assume. For one thing, as my American Prospect colleague Paul Waldman has pointed out, the percentage of Americans who own guns has been declining for decades. According to the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, the percentage of households that reported owning guns declined from 54 percent in 1977 to 32 percent in 2010. That shouldn’t be surprising: Fewer Americans live in rural areas, while the number of hunters has shrunk. At the same time, however, the number of guns abroad in the land has increased — because a minority of Americans are stocking up on handguns and rifles.

There’s a name for those gun buyers: Republicans. As the FiveThirtyEight blog noted Tuesday, the 2010 General Social Survey showed that 50 percent of adult Republicans owned guns, while only 22 percent of adult Democrats did. This gap in gun-ownership rates has swelled over the past 40 years: In the 1973 survey, 55 percent of Republicans and 45?percent of Democrats had a gun at home. Polls suggest this gap will continue to widen: In the 2008 national exit polls, the percentage of Democrats with guns declined as the age cohorts grew younger, while the GOP rate of gun ownership was the same across all age groups. Increasingly, then, it’s our shrinking Republican minority that is buying guns.

Story is located here

“I only know what I hear on FOX News”

December 20th, 2012

Here is a disturbing report from a local news broadcast in Toledo, Ohio. An Indiana man pleaded guilty to arson for having set fire to an Islamic Center in Toledo, Ohio. He was sentenced to 20 years today and, in an exchange with the judge, revealed his motivation.

The judge asked him if he knew any Muslims or what Islam is. He said “No, I only know what I hear on Fox News.”

The producers at Fox must be so proud of the prejudice they inspire with their overtly hateful coverage of any subject that deals with Muslims. Their scandal mongering a couple of years ago about the Park51 Islamic Center in Manhattan was evidence of just how biased the network is against Muslims. And numerous Fox anchors and guests have engaged in the slander that all Muslims are terrorists, or that all terrorists are Muslim.

So it should not be surprising that one of their loyal viewers decides to commit what he thinks is an act of patriotism. After driving into their heads the notion that Muslims are America’s enemies, even when they are American citizens, congressmen, or soldiers, Fox’s audience has become indoctrinated by the prejudice that gushes from the network’s broadcasts. Now we know that a member of that audience has taken the next step in manifesting the hate that Fox manufactures.

And it’s not the first time either. There was the story about a woman who threatened to fire all of her black employees if they voted for Obama, and she wrote “KKK” on their time cards. Her excuse? “I think I got crazy with FOX News, watching too much FOX News.” And there were at least two maniacs inspired by Fox’s Glenn Beck (here and here).

This is the predictable result of the feverish rantings that occur daily on Fox News. The anchors, producers, and advertisers are responsible for the harm that is done by people they knowingly incite to violence. Hopefully someday one of their victims will be courageous enough to hold Fox accountable and make them pay a price for their hate speech.

Story and video are located here

3 notes about people shooting innocent people from Darcy Burner:

December 20th, 2012

?3 notes about people shooting innocent people:

1. “The irony of all ironies – Republicans are making it harder for Americans to vote with new voter ID laws to fight voter fraud, which happens less often than lightning striking people. Yet, Republicans won’t budge on making it just a little harder for Americans to buy guns, despite dozens of mass shootings every year.” http://bit.ly/Qab7nT

2. Flashback: What is ‘Stochastic Terrorism?’ The use of mass communication like radio or television to encourage individuals to commit random lone acts of violence. http://bit.ly/fQJ1DC

3. From Darcy Burner, Congressional Candidate, WA-1

“Earlier today, a gunman walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where people were watching the midnight showing of the new Batman movie. He fired gas canisters into the crowd, and then opened fire. At least 12 people are dead and 59 people are injured. My heart and prayers go out to all of them.

On the day Gabby Giffords was shot, I was picking up my son Henry from a lesson when I got the text message saying there had been a shooting. I’d campaigned with Gabby in 2006. Henry didn’t understand why I’d stopped getting into the car and started crying.

Walking back from a haircut the other day, I passed Café Racer, where on May 30th a gunman walked in and killed four people.

It’s time we had an adult conversation in this country about guns.

On January 17, 1989, a gunman in Stockton, California walked onto a playground and opened fire, killing 5 children and injuring 30 more.

On July 1, 1993, a gunman in San Francisco walked into a law office and opened fire, killing 8 and injuring 6.

On April 20, 1999, two gunmen in Columbine, Colorado walked into their high school and opened fire, killing 13 people and injuring 21 others.

On January 16, 2002, a gunman in Virginia walked into a law school and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 3.

On July 8, 2003, a gunman in Mississippi walked into a factory and opened fire, killing 6 and injuring 8.

On March 21, 2005, a gunman in Minnesota walked into a high school and opened fire, killing 7 and injuring 5.

On November 20, 2005, a gunman in Tacoma walked into the mall and opened fire, injuring 6.

On March 25, 2006, a gunman in Seattle walked into a party and opened fire, killing 6 and injuring 2.

On February 12, 2007, a gunman in Utah walked into a mall and opened fire, killing 5 and injuring 4.

On April 16, 2007, a gunman in Virginia walked onto the Virginia Tech campus and opened fire, killing 32 people and wounding 17 others.

On December 5, 2007, a gunman in Nebraska walked into a mall and opened fire, killing 8 and injuring 4.

On December 9, 2007, a gunman in Colorado Springs walked onto a church parking lot and opened fire, killing 2 and wounding 3.

On February 7, 2008, a gunman in Missouri walked into a city council meeting and opened fire, killing 5 and wounding 2.

On February 14, 2008, a gunman in Illinois walked onto a college campus and opened fire, killing 5 and injuring 17.

On June 25, 2008, a gunman in Kentucky walked into a factory and opened fire, killing 5 and injuring 1.

On January 24, 2009, a gunman in Portland walked up to a nightclub and opened fire, killing 2 and injuring 7.

On March 29, 2009, a gunman in North Carolina walked into a retirement home and opened fire, killing 8 and injuring 2.

On August 4, 2009, a gunman in a suburb of Pittsburgh walked into a fitness club and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 9.

On November 5, 2009, a gunman at Fort Hood in Texas walked into a medical center and opened fire, killing 13 and injuring 29.

On November 29, 2009, a gunman in Lakewood, Washington walked into a coffee shop and killed 4 police officers.

On January 7, 2010, a gunman in St Louis walked into a power plant and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 6.

On January 12, 2010, a gunman in Georgia walked into a truck rental place and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 2.

On February 12, 2010, a gunwoman in Alabama stood up in a college faculty meeting and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 3.

On August 3, 2010, a gunman in Connecticut walked into a warehouse and opened fire, killing 8 and injuring 2.

On August 7, 2011, a gunman in Ohio broke into his girlfriend’s house and opened fire, killing 7 and injuring 1.

On September 6, 2011, a gunman in Nevada walked into a pancake restaurant and opened fire, killing 4 and injuring 7.

On October 5, 2011, a gunman in Cupertino, California walked into a quarry where people were working and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 7.

Sadly, I could go on.

But the numbers don’t tell the stories. These were people. Rachel Scott was a 17-year-old aspiring writer and actress who wanted to change the world through small acts of kindness. Dave Sanders was a 47-year-old teacher and girls basketball coach who was shot and killed while trying to evacuate students. Cassie Bernall was hiding under a table praying. Jack Berman was a lawyer who founded a program to help homeless people find housing. John Scully died while shielding his newlywed wife with his own body. Drew Keriakedes and Joe Albanese were musicians with wicked senses of humor. Every one of the hundreds of people shot in the incidents I list above had dreams and aspirations, laughed and cried, had friends and neighbors and parents.

As a country, though, we have not had a real conversation about guns in many, many years. The National Rifle Association (NRA) threatens the career of any politician who so much as opens the conversation. As a consequence, our country has not discussed assault weapons – which have no use except killing large numbers of people in massacres like the ones I’ve listed. We have not discussed the fact that anyone can buy a gun at a gun show without any background check, even if they have a history of criminal violence. We have not discussed the expiration of the ban on large clips, which allow shooters to kill more people in a shorter time because they don’t have to reload. We have not discussed what a sensible, rational approach to regulating guns in our country might be.

Enough.

It’s time we took steps to stop the mass killings.

It’s time we had an adult conversation about guns in this country. The NRA can go to hell.”

In deepest sympathy,
– Darcy Burner http://darcyburner.com/