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Hits of the Day
This morning, I heard the news that a 23-year-old medical student who was brutally gang raped in Delhi on December 16th had died. Another gang rape victim, in the state of Punjab, committed suicide this week after being pressed by police to drop the case and accept money or even marry one of the rapists. The girl, a teenager, and her family wanted police to open an investigation.  [Read more]
Apparently casting about for ideas for an Op-ed column this week, Nicholas Kristof has gone back to the "philanthrocapitalism" well with a column titled "How Giving Became Cool." He credits Ted Turner's decision to funnel $1 billion for charitable causes through the United Nations a few years back, and then his agitating for more generosity from Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who have since championed "The Giving Pledge," where our wealthy betters promise to give away half of their fortunes to charitable causes. [Read more]
Before dawn on Christmas Eve a man set fire to his car and his house and waited for the firefighters to arrive so he could murder them. He shot four, killing two. They were volunteers. One of the men he killed was also a local police lieutenant. They died for going out on a winter morning to protect their neighbors. [Read more]
...Picture it. It was the middle 1990s. Kurt Cobain still breathed. Courtney Love still made sense. People wore flannel on top of their flannel. Britney Spears was a Mouseketeer and a virgin. Some people still carried pocket pagers, known as "beepers." Well, only drug dealers. Pay phones existed. The rapper Ice-T was an unlikely candidate for starring in a Law and Order spin-off. [Read more]
Wishing you all a merry Christmas season, and all the joys it brings. Happy holidays and peace to all, including those who wanted a war so badly they made one up.
Will it spoil everything if I pass along this gentle reminder? Christmas is a time of joy and good will for everyone; all ages, all regions, all religions. Those scrooges who want to pretend there's a war going on over it, have, sadly, forgotten what it was like to be a child.
Maybe Wayne LaPierre is onto something. So suggests DF in his latest blog, What Can We Do to Stop Massacres? Isn't it at least worth considering, he asks, LaPierre's proposal to station armed "responders" at our schools?
It is worth considering. An armed officer presents a defense and a deterrent. It seems indisputable that LaPierre's proposal would help protect our schools against violent attacks.
But would it stop massacres? Not unless we placed multiple armed responders at every park, playground, pool, day camp, playing field, Sunday school, daycare center, shopping mall, or any other place where children gather. [Read more]
Friends, please consider signing this petition urging President Obama to think harder and to come up with a qualified Democrat, rather than former Senator Chuck Hagel, as the next Secretary of Defense.
From what I've been reading today (and fighting about on Twitter) some on the left and the libertarian right are supporting Hagel because of his neocon opponents. The good thing about Hagel is that he won't push Obama into a war with Iran. Neocons hate that. But, who cares? Neocons have no influence. [Read more]
This might be* stupid, but hear me out.
One of the problems with guns is that for all the fancy gadgets and accessories, they are pretty low tech. You can put a laser site on a rifle. It's still just an enhanced version of a very old technology. It's a technology that is so old that it is not networked in any way. It cannot be controlled from afar any more than a hammer or hacksaw can be. [Read more]
Our gun laws have been distorted to suit the needs of a single interest group. That small, privileged group’s desires outweigh the needs of nearly every other American, and have more influence with our elected leaders than the suffering of crime victims, the recommendations of law enforcement, or the common-sense demands of public safety. These privileged few are not hunters, or sportsmen, or homeowners concerned with self-defense. They are hobbyists. We live in a gun collector’s paradise, and it is very dangerous.
Everyone is sick right now. There's only one thing it seems we can all agree on, which is that we can abide the massacre of children neither in conscience nor gut. It's an unfortunate truth that what transpired on Friday in Newtown was different in degree rather than in kind, but the degree seems to matter this time.
Even more unfortunate is that this heightened arousal doesn't really seem to be leading to many cogent answers to the question, "How do we prevent this from happening again?" [Read more]
I know I've brought this up before but back in the 90s, when I worked at a chain book/video/music store, a dude used to come in with his family and a nine millimeter pistol in a shoulder holster. The rules back then in New Mexico were that it was legal to carry an unconcealed firearm, though establishments were allowed to ban them and it was illegal to discharge a firearm within the city limits. So, this guy with his military style haircut (but not the kind of body or discipline you'd associate with having completed the most basic basic training) would come into the store with his piece in full view. The store owners didn't care to ban him.
After every major gun-inflicted tragedy we're told by the pro-everything-that-shoots bunch that it's too soon to be talking about gun control. We hear again that guns don't kill people, it's the people misusing the guns who kill people. We hear that they could just as well be using knives or garrotes or box cutters or poison or 3,000 pound vehicles.
It's Saturday, the day after what will forever be known as the Sandy Hook School murders. Yesterday Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old man, broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and shot to death six adults and 20 small children.
We're all in shock and looking for answers. We're crying, grieving, mourning, and we want answers. We want gun control that actually controls guns. We want people not to blame the guns but the shooter. We want to know the names of the victims, and, as I write this, all news stations are on alert, awaiting a press conference where those names will finally be announced.
There are 300 million guns in America, which is enough to arm everyone. About half of households are gun owners. That includes the house I grew up with. It includes some of my colleagues and friends. It includes right wingers and left wingers. They're good people and to them, guns are objects and they have as much a right to them as they do to any other object in their lives. [Read more]
20 children have been murdered in Connecticut. This what you can do about it right now:
1. Write and call your Congressman. Writing to your Congressional representatives is the most important thing you can do, more important than writing to the White House. Write and call your House member first, and then your two Senators. You can find their contact information at house.gov and senate.gov.
So it has happened. Remember the other day when I wrote that Michigan had become a Right-to-Work state? It's not that I'm prescient or anything, announcing a done deal on Saturday when it didn't actually become law until yesterday (Tuesday), when Govnerd Ricky signed the two "Hasta la Vista, Union" bills hustled through the Republican-led legislature in a dazzling demonstration of warp speed. No, it's just that I've come to know those guys. No amount of talking, cajoling, coercing or begging was going to change the course of that bloody action, no matter what. [Read more]
From a spending standpoint one of the problems for Social Security, and for any retirement annuity or lifetime pension, is how to maintain purchasing power for recipients in a world of generally rising prices. It would be so nice, all agree, if prices could just be made not to rise so quickly. This is, unfortunately, very difficult to control.
Enter the Chained CPI. It's a measure of inflation that takes the substitution effect of consumers changing their buying habits in response to a rise in prices. If the price of steak goes up, the story goes, consumers buy more chicken and the government doesn't have to worry about making sure that retirees can keep up with the price of steak. [Read more]
Forget about Benghazi. The whole imbroglio was little more than an election gambit gone sour. Republican leaders, frustrated that their charges failed to wound Obama in November, have vented their fury on his choice for Secretary of State.
But Susan Rice's record as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. raises other more serious concerns. The New York Times published two articles today, a news story and an op-ed, which question Rice's judgment concerning several African dictators. [Read more]
Every ten years the British magazine Sight and Sound polls various cineastes to learn what they consider to be the greatest movie of all time. In 2012, Alfred Hithcock's Vertigo unseated Orson Welles' Citizen Kane which had been selected first in each poll conducted since 1962. Jean Renoir's 1939 classic La Regle du jeu (Rules of the Game) came in fourth. Below, I explain why I believe Renoir's film is demonstrably superior to Vertigo. [Read more]
Last week Michigan's Republican-majority legislature, with no committee meetings, no floor debate, in a rush to get this done before January when their control lessens, voted to add my beautiful state to a growing number of states--23 of them so far--that have been downgraded to what some have been led to believe is an assurance of a "Right-to-Work".
I stopped blogging for a while around Thanksgiving, partly because I was driving instead (I managed to log about 2500 highway miles in a week and a half), and partly because I needed to unplug both from national politics and from the unrelenting dailiness of office politics. (I go to more meetings at work than I used to, and answer a lot more e-mails.) The advent of winter holidays has always been a good time for me to step away from the noisy bustle and think more about what is durable. It's stepping out of the car after miles and miles of highway and looking up at the cold clear stars over New Hampshire.
We women have had a rough few decades. The modern woman has to worry about pleasing their man or finding a man. We have to worry about children. We have to worry about our jobs and vaginas. But it didn’t used to always be this way. Since the great feminist uprising came and washed away our self-respect and dignity, we women lived a far simpler existence. We indeed had it all. [Read more]
Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the Frenc [Read more]
The way David Gregory framed his "fiscal cliff" question on Meet The Press today is extremely revealing. "What cuts," he asked his Democratic guest (I'm paraphrasing a little), "are Democrats willing to accept that will be truly painful?" The answer, by the way, was "farm subsidies." So, yes, the whole exchange was absurd.
But, let's focus on the question. Why the word "pain?" I guess one interpretation, unlikely, is that Gregory believes that the government is extremely well-managed so that any significant cuts to existing programs are going to hurt people in a real and tangible way. [Read more]
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in WHAT IS HIPOCRISY?Richard Day
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