Friday, January 25, 2013

Gun Control Ideas

There is a huge amount of discussion these days about gun control, which was sparked about the tragic incident at Newtown, Connecticut. There have been several since then. Yesterday was  a shooting in Houston, Texas at a community college that wounded three, and a young girl died in Kansas. All the while folk like Ted Nugent are all in a dither about their guns being taken away. Which of course, isn't at all true.

We in America have a problem with killing from guns. According to PolitiFact, the total killed by weapons in America since 1968 is more than the number that were killed in all of America's wars combined. That's a lot of people. We think of the University West Virginia; Aurora, Colorado; Red Lake, Minnesota; Ft. Hood, Texas; and Parkland, Washington to name a few.

What is being advocated, and was actually set into policy after President Reagan was shot and wounded, is all that is being asked. What is being asked is gun control. So I am about to share what I think are reasonable ideas to controlling who has weapons in the United States.

Some caveats: 1) There will need to be some grandfathering, and some overlap of compliance. Take for example the notion of registering a weapon. It will need to be done on a state as well as national level. That might involve some working out of kinks. Another area would be what to do with ownership of weapons that fall under a ban? Sales could be stopped immediately, and gun shows  would either stop sales or move to the national standard of registration and background checks. Which means that until all that is completed, you have no gun. Felony or mental illness? No gun, all cases determined on a case by case basis. Other than some of those issues needing to be ironed out, here's what I propose.

The cornerstone of my idea of gun control is a mandatory time of service for every high school graduate in their state's National Guard unit. If they so choose, they may join the federal military agencies, otherwise, they are required to report for bootcamp of their states Nationla Guard unit in the September after they graduate. They will be required to learn all the martial skills that said units teach. They will also partake of the activities that Guard units execute in helping the states they hail from in the events of emergency. They are required to do two years, and in those two years they will learn to disassemble, clean, re-assemble, and shoot with proficiency their issued side arm and long rifle. Straight out of high school, into the National Guard of their state, unless they join the federal military. No options. After two years in the Guard, I advocate two years in the Peace Corp, or a similar group. Or, if tech school for a two year degree is desired, from the Guard into tech school. Otherwise, a second stint being involved with learning to help, and hopefully in matter outside one's state. Here they can begin to apply some of the skills they developed in the Guard in solving real world problems.

After the four years of service, a couple of things can happen. One, after a brief re-certification if they choose, they can keep their issued side arm and long rifle. By doing so they acknowledge they are on call as a national Guard member until the age of 40. They get to keep these weapons that will be registered and cannot by foirce of law be sold or given away, as long as they maintain a proven efficiency with them. These weapons will be offered to those who choose the tech school path as well, and the same restrictions apply. The second possibility is that anyone who completes the four years of service gets free schooling in any institution of higher learning that they choose to any level they choose, with a maximum of 12 years available.

I see several benefits in this. One, it will increase the number of post high school graduates in degreed programs that will eventually raise the level of graduates in America and spur the growth of research and development, sciences, and math. These students will enter post secondary school with a higher degree of maturity than they would otherwise, having learned valuable skills that will enable them to complete their studies and present, in my opinion, a higher degree of thinking to the subjects at hand. Another issue is educational reform, but that's another post or twenty. The economic impact will be greater over the long haul, and I have to think that those choosing to enter politics will be a better grade of candidates. Another benefit will be the fulfillment of the 2nd Amendment. The right of gun ownership within 2 to 3 generations will be contingent upon being in the militia. Those that are concerned about the rights to own weapons will have no argument. Perhaps from this a secondary benefit might be a decrease in crime. Not too many folks will break into a home that is  heavily armed by someone who is also proficient. America will always have plenty of response in the event of a disaster or attack, be it domestic or otherwise.

I think it's a good idea. What do you think?

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Sunday, September 09, 2012

There is a lot of angst these days, especially around politics. We just finished two conventions. The Republicans went first, and the fact checkers were not nice to them. Plus there was their meme, which they distorted from an Obama speech, about how "They Built It," meaning their fortunes, all while in a building paid for by tax dollars. Inside, they had that meme posted, "We Built This." Above it was the debt clock, a subject they rarely referred to. And though it was a fabricated photo, if you take away the Bush tax cuts and two warts the Republicans started and ran for almost a decade, this number isn't an issue.
Or Ryan's claim of a factory being closed in his own state of Wisconsin, which actually closed before Obama took office. Here is a link that is from this morning. Here Ryan fabricates a distortion, when fact checking reveals what a distortion it is. This is the nature of today's politics. Except for Michelle Obama's speech. Apparently it passed fact checking with flying colors.

On the other side of the aisle, here is a story about a Democrat that just couldn't handle some free expression. This story is rather interesting in the depth of effort this Democrat went though to make sure this football player was silenced. It's shameful that any person should act this way, but there you have it. From a Democrat. A Christian minister Democrat.

So what is the solution? I see two aspects that can be acted on right now. One is take over party politics at the local levels to determine the party planks of the state and then national conventions. Take for example this graphic which reveals how far on these issues the "liberals" have swung. So we need to take over the local levels to establish what we want to define as liberal and/or progressive.

Second, we need to be the change of people we want to see. In other words, from today's ranks of those at the local levels will rise the state and national level politicians of tomorrow. We need to re-instill ethics, beginning with ourselves, into politics, and more importantly, early education. I realize that's a sticky wicket with the right wing fundamentalists in America, but ethics have been taught and discussed in schools long before their brand of fundamentalism existed. This article is a good place to start questions. I noticed in the 4th paragraph this statement: "As America became a more pluralistic society, it was harder to come up with a shared notion of good behavior." That raises some interesting notions, no? "Good behavior?" I don't see that as the issue. Would bullying be considered good behavior? Yes, by some religious people here in America. Otherwise, no. Stealing? Murder? Rape? I think the issue isn't behavior, as to the changing dynamic in America as to what the foundation of that moral behavior will be. Atheists can be good without God. Many Christians are bad with god. So it's up to us to find out how to discuss ethics and leave each person to choose what foundation they will build that on. And those are the people we want in office.

It's election season, so the emotions are high. We can see that both parties aren't exactly what we want ideally. We do however, still have the power to change them. We can stop the corruption, the lies, the power trips, and make this, maybe for once, a government of, by, and for the people. We can achieve the Thom Paine sentiments I post as the header of this blog. I know that's true because we have the power to change the one thing that really matters: ourselves. 

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Flip Flopper Extraordinaire

Elitist Mitt Rmoney has been bagged so many times as a flip flopper. There are You Tube montages of him changing his tune, sometimes in less than a single day! His most recent and famous of course, that on the issue of getting Bin Laden. Now of course he backpedals to claim he would, despite saying he wouldn't. He would have let Detroit go bankrupt, and would have ignored Bin Laden, like Bush did, and he wants to be President? I wonder what country he thinks he's in? Talibanicalstan?

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"Human rights?" They Lie

Pam Geller is a liar and a coward. So is the doof that presents with her, I believe his name is Robert Spencer. They have no interest in human rights. The attached link tells the story. Not only are they not interested in equal human rights, they are completely afraid of transparency. They simply want to brainwash the gullible fools who would attend this event, and hence they block media presentation. They are afraid of their message being understood by the masses. It's these types of people who we need to protect America from. The are a Reich, a religious reich at the very least. They are ignorant, know nothing of history, or ethics as they will gladly lie to press their agenda forward. Once they put their belief on their belt buckle, you will know their true character. It hangs around their neck now, so it's headed that way.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Despite How Much Things Change...

They remain the same.

I first started this blog, which has been relatively quiet for 2 years, back in 2005. And politically not much has changed. There is still plenty of partisan bickering, and very real solutions are not being created.

The grass roots, what real people are doing, is what is changing this country. Not the astroturf movements like the Tea Party, with a very defined agenda and plenty of string pullers and few donators, both one in the same.

Take the issues around food. Obviously there are several. People are tired of fast food. The movie Super Size me comes to mind. So what has happened over the last several years? CSAs have popped up all over. No government program there. people are gardening a lot more. And small farms that don't use GMOs or chemical are proliferating. Empty lots in urban areas are being gardened. This is all people power, doing it by themselves, for themselves.

Let's take money. Occupy is a movement that is hardly organized. Nothing centralized anyway. And what occurred last year in the fall? Billions were moved out of big banks and went to credit unions. People taking power over their own money.

That's grass roots movements. Another area under the radar is community wealth. Employees owned businesses, growing quietly and steadily into big numbers. There are more EOB workers than union members in the US now according to Democracy Collaborative.

In that regard, much is changing. The shell is the same, but the Arab Spring that is still happening in Egypt, Syria, Greece, Spain, Russia, and other places was a good sign that there is a consciousness shift occurring. Look what happened to the radio empire of Rush Limbaugh. And then those sights got turned on the corporate legislative lobby ALEC. The money is drying up because of demand by normal citizens that are saying, we aren't taking this stuff any more. They want alternative energies. They want healthy food. They want a system that perpetuates health and not illness. They want to stop the control of our government by special interests with deep pockets.

Despite how much things stay the same, they change. It's imperative. In 2012, the shift that is occurring is away from the elite to the extraordinary common. There is no more room for business as usual.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Demise of Sports

This is hardly news. Many people have recognized that sports went away a long time ago. That is recognizable by the difference between watching the football stars of the sixites score a touchdown as to today. Back then, the guy doing the scoring just dropped the ball and headed to the sideline. No dance, no piling on. Half the team was on the sidelines already. Today, you watch some fool prancing like an idiot before his team mates mob him even though they're still down by 21 points. It's also what you see when some doof makes a tackle and acts like he just won the Superbowl even though his team has three wins all year long. Three events this week have led to further aversion of sports for me.

One was the hiring by the Seattle Seahawks of Pete Carrol, after they fired their head coach after one year. Now perhaps I am missing some details here. But the Seahawks were in a losing season when they announced that their current coach, Mike Holmgren, was retiring. They also announced their next coach, Jim Mora, who would have to wait  a year to get to do that job. So Mr. Mora inherited a team that had a losing season. Towards the tail end of the first year of Mr. Mora's job, way down in sunny California, it seems that the situation at University of California, home of the vaunted Trojans, was a little dysfunctional. There seemed to be some improprieties concerning the treatment of some of the football players, which means that victories and bowl wins get stripped from their records, and the program loses scholarships and recruiting privileges, and basically gets a black eye that forces potential athletes to look elsewhere. And the coach during the time in question at USC? Pete Carrol. The same Pete Carrol that the Seattle Seahawks hired after firing Jim Mora after one season. The same Pete Carrol that led the '94 Jets to a 6-10 record. The same Pete Carrol that had a 27 and 21 record after three years with the Patriots. And the first year was his best year with 10 wins. It went downhill after that. So the Seahawks think that a coach with 5 years pro experience and a less than stellar record will save the day. As long as they can play the drama-savior scenario to separate fans from their money, they will. Serious rebuilding seems unnecessary. Fans are grumbling here in Seattle, and when talk of the possibility of Mr. Holmgren returning started trickling through the media pipes, then there was hope. Holmgren ended up in Cleveland, where there are "fewer layers" between President and owner of the team. Now we know why he turned down the Seattle job. So the grumbling in Seattle resumed. The team had record losses. So the management, whose job it is apparently to field better profits, decided that Mora was the problem. Now maybe there wasn't any chemistry between the players and coach. So be it if that's the case. One year though is hardly enough to develop a winning program. So Seattle will pop for the remaining years of Mora's contract which is reported to be about $12 million dollars. Nice layoff huh?

Another event that transpired was the pulling of a gun on a team mate by Gilbert Arenas, a pro player for the Washington Wizards. In a locker room altercation, or jest, he pulled a gun on a team mate. He had four of them on him apparently. For protection. Which I frankly find hard to believe. A guy paid what Arenas makes ($111 million dollar contract), doesn't drive a used car into the seedy parts of DC to go home after a game. He likely drives a very nice car, or someone else he pays to be his "posse," his "entourage," does. And he goes home to a very nice, well patrolled neighborhood of nice homes. Definitely no hookers and crack dealers hanging out there. At least one would think so. He has the money for it. So he gets caught pulling a gun. Says he's sorry to the public, met with law enforcement people, was criticized by civil rights leaders, all that. Claims he understood the gravity of the situation. And then, "It happened last week in Philadelphia. Every team has its pregame rituals: some chant, some dance, some box or high five. With his career and even his freedom hanging in the balance for a misadventure with guns, Arenas stood at the center of his team's huddle, made his hands into pistols, and pretended to shoot his teammates." Sounds like a real nyuk nyuk moment huh? So the NBA Commissioner suspended him. I think he should have outright ended his career. In Tennessee, four of their college basketball players were arrested, caught while drivbing around with not just pot, which is no biggie in my book, but also with fire arms. What I see happening is the transference of the thug mentality into the NBA. Instead of young men like these learning to make better decisions, and avoid those situatiuons where you need a weapon for protection, they seem  left to their own devices. And so what started as the donny brook that Indiana and Detroit got into a few years back, has now turned into brining guns into the stadiums. This from some of the richest people in the country, and again, who seem to lack that element of sportsmanship but indeed manifest much of the show boating and swagger.

The third incident involved my favorite sport. Mark McGuire, who famously, and unexplicably hit the single season home run record homer while all of TV land was watching and all sorts of celebrities were on hand, including Hank Aaron, admitted what everyone else already knew: that he used game enhancing drugs, which included during the season in which he broke Aaron's record. He came clean so he could land the job as the Cardinals hitting coach without baggage.

Will MLB pull his records? Will they strip him of anything? Demand that the Cardinals not hire him? Not likely. It will be up to people like me to contact these organizations and say we are done watching. This isn't about sports any more. It's about the money. Has been for years. For McGuire it was about developing stats for a fatter contract. For Pete Carrol it was about breaking the rules to make sure that he could field a winner and in the long run, retain his ability to get a fatter contract. It's why stadiums are now named after corporations. And for all three of these people, it shows that character, sportsmanship, plays a relatively small part in career choices. Breaking the rules, cheating, hey, no big deal.  Well, I'm not a fan of that any more. My money and my time will go elsewhere.

So I say good-bye.


Friday, January 01, 2010

Blundering Idiots?

One person commented that the GOP has become a sorry cult of a party.

Here is a story. There are three links connected to it. I encourage you to read those as well, all short for the most part. What it will reveal is that politics in this country is becoming a circus. This GOP candidate makes comments on the cybersphere. Oops. He doesn't think that this stuff is saved or recorded? Then when people respond to his comments, he tries to delete the remarks. Oops. Overt admission of trying to be something you claim you aren't to save a budding political career.

What all this points out is that as a man thinks, he speaks. This candidate is a confessed Christian. He should know his own Bible teaches that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Already this man is at odds with himself and his own religion. As a man speaks, he acts. Then his deeds become habit, and those habits become character. The GOP is truly becoming a circus of immoral fools.

So regasrdless of the party, remember that trying to erase the past is not advisable. The mouth reveals the heart, and so what sort of policies one can expect from the candidate, regardless of party affiliation. It's past time to begin electing those who keep their religion as their own business, who don't take money from big business, and don't have to worrry about erasing their past comments.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Right is Wrong, and The Left Sold Out.

Here is an interesting story, when sided with this. It reveals how truly deep the lack of understanding is of the right wingers of not only what Americans want, but of Christianity as well. The rank hypocrisy aside, this sort of revelation makes mer wonder at times what level of intelligence conservative voters operate at. It apparently has little to do with issues that matter. It has little to do with fact. In the very season of their alleged Saviors alleged birth, they have no problems lying or misrepresenting the truth.

For example, compare this staement, "Fox News even said that senators voting against reform are doing so because they understand “the true meaning of Christmas,”with, oh, something from another cinematic non-reality, The Christmas Carol. Voting against health care reform sounds like which stage of Scrooge? Ah, but Fox isn't to be slowed down by facts or reality. And of course, the right wingers have the ONLY understanding of Christmas, which is the implied meaning of their statement. Also, let's compare Matthew chapters 4 aqnd 5 with this statement, "Conservatives have been aggressively trying to portray health care reform as an assault on Christmas and Christian values." I think we might find some interesting contradictions.

And what of the instructions in Romans to submit to the governing powers that be, becasue they are established by God? None of the right wing rhetoric sounds submissive to me.

Not that I think this bill is anywhere close to Steele's misrepresentation, "the Senate version is the best Trojan horse possible to hide a true single payer system." If that were the case, then Progressives and liberals would be rather happy. This bill hardly does anything to wrest control from the insurance companies. But Republicans don't care about democracy, or the average voting citizen, as they have amply demonstrated by obstructing this "reform" bill, SCHIPS, EFCA, minimum wage laws, and so forth and so on. Democrats have demonstrated that they are also subservient to the paymaster, and will sacrifice the hundreds of millions of citizens so they can retain their campagin contributrion sources.