Friday, December 21, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Weaker Boener's Morning After Pill

The so-called "Republican Plan B" for avoiding the fiscal cliff will be brought up for a vote today. Like the real-life Plan B, it's pretty much going to be prophylactic in getting passed on into the uterus. I mean, Senate.

House Speaker John Boehner has proposed Plan B, which would extend Bush-era tax cuts on income of up to $1 million. He described it as a fallback option to prevent a sweeping tax hike while negotiations continue on a broader plan.

GOP leaders also had planned to vote Thursday on President Barack Obama's long-standing proposal to return to the higher tax rates of the 1990s on income above $250,000 for families.

But Republicans decided to drop their plan to vote on extending tax breaks on incomes over $250,000. One GOP aide said that since the president has moved the threshold to $400,000, there is no point to that exercise.

What's astounding about this plan, even this minimally effective plan, is that Boener is having trouble rounding up enough votes to get it through his House. He's had to hand out lollipops to the children in his caucus, even to the point where the sequestration that both parties in both houses of Congress agreed to two years ago are up for modification.

You may read that as meaning the defense cuts are off the table.

Needless to say, President Obama has promised to veto this nonsense, although it's hard to see how you can get Republicans back to the table.

This all hinges on one date on the calendar, and you should mark it, should we go over the fiscal cliff: January 3.

That's the day most Americans who receive some form of monthly compensation from the United States -- Social Security, welfare, a salary -- can expect their next installment. Including many of the same asshats who are writing into their Teabagger Congresscritters telling them to stand firm on taxes.

It will be interesting to see what happens when those government-bought Hoverounds start to malfunction and there's no money to be found for fixing them. All those FOX News viewers stuck inside, can't even go to the corner for a pack of cigs and a 40, and of course, the HEAP money will be flatlined too, so no heat or hot water -- not that they shower, mind you -- no mail delivery so no pension checks or Victoria Secret catalogues to fap to, and then God forbid there's an actual disaster and they need help.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Meaningful Contributions"

What an interesting turn of phrase the NRA has resorted to, after nearly five days of utter silence with regard to the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter:

After days of silence, the National Rifle Association released a statement Tuesday on the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., saying it will make "meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

In the release, the organization begins to explain its silence, saying: "Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting."

Now, this could be read as anything from pumping gobs of money into advocating more gun rights to finally making significant changes to its pro-gun manufacturing stances.

After all, isn't it the hardcore gun owners who are saying "If the teachers had been armed..." fully neglecting the fact that there have been mass killing on military bases where there are arms aplenty. If trained military officers and soldiers can't react quickly enough to a slaughter by automatic weaponry, how in the heck is a principal supposed to a) hear gun fire, b) recognize it as gun fire, c) run to the gun safe, d) open it while emotionally compromised, e) pull out a weapon, f) load it (because presumably you wouldn't want loaded weapons in a school, and g) run back down the hall and steady herself (since most principals are women) and shoot a gunman, all without sacrificing another student?

A "meaningful contribution" could be interpreted as to offer gun training to teachers for free, you see.

In thirty years, not one mass shooting has been stopped by a civilian with a gun, unless you count the killers who have shot themselves on the scene. Apocryphal stories abound of armed citizens staring down a gunman, but those sound more like bar-boasts than anything else and are not backed up by trials where evidence has been submitted.

The NRA is scheduled to hold a press conference in Washington, DC on Friday. That it has not decided to rub people's noses in it by holding an ad hoc convention in Hartford instead can be taken as a sign of progress.

Maybe, just maybe, its dawned on them that people matter more than guns.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Now. Not Tomorrow. Not Next Week. Now.

The assault weapons ban must be put back in place, immediately. If President Obama has to risk looking like "He's comin' fer our gunz," then so be it. We shouldn't have to explain to the parents of the next school shooting, "It wasn't the right time to talk about banning assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols."
Because if this incident doesn't immediately make it clear that a) there is no wrong time to talk about the ban and b) assault weapons have no place in society, period, I can't imagine what the hell a gun nut could possibly want to convince him.
There is absolutely no need for any civilian, not even an off-duty cop, to own an assault weapon. Period. Here we have a case of legally owned guns being used to slaughter dozens of innocent people. These guns were employed by someone who had authorization to use them, having fired them any number of times at gun ranges under the auspices of his mother.
As Michael Moore so deftly tweeted this weekend "If only Nancy Lanza had more guns, none of this would have happened." The Lanzas clearly had too many guns.
The answer, clearly, is not more guns. Indeed, no civilian in the past 30 years has stopped a mass shooting. Ever. Not once. Indeed, another gun tends to incite more gun violence, as anyone who lives in a deep urban area can attest. Or you merely have to look at this past summer's incident at the Empire State Building, where nine bystanders were injured by police firing upon the assailant. And they're trained in the use of firearms to the point they are warned not to draw unless its absolutely necessary.
It's also funny how when it comes to the Second Amendment, conservatives suddenly become so flexible, where on the rest of the document, they are strict constructionists.
I mean, I might be wrong, but back when the founders wrote that Amendment, you had to measure out black powder, pour it down the barrel of your musket or pistol, tamp it down with wadding, then stuff a lead ball into it. You took very careful aim because the barrel wasn't rifled so the ball didn't fly true (and besides, it was a ball so it was likely to veer off course anyway) and you looked "into the whites of their eyes" and you fired.
This gave you more than a moment's pause before you wasted a shot. Indeed, a miss meant you had to start the whole process all over again and risk being killed by your target, even with his bare hands. You couldn't spray a roomful of children like you were watering a garden.
It shouldn't be easy to shoot someone. It certainly shouldn't be easier to buy a gun of any kind than to buy a car and drive it. There ought to be insurance involved, too, since something like 80% of guns used in this country are legally owned, and that insurance ought to be goddamned expensive.
In New York City, it costs something like $500 annually just to own a gun, and another $400 or so to have a gun license of the most minimal permit (to keep a gun in your house.) That ought to be the minimum, the bare minimum, and then we can move onto defining what a gun actually is.
So conservatives? You want to be all "strict constructionist," how about here? How about we define a "gun" as something that cannot fire more than a bullet faster than every three seconds (I'm being very generous here, since it took longer than three seconds to load a musket)? Anything faster is a "military weapon," and therefore not covered in the Second?
There is not one legitimate argument for any civilian to ever own a military weapon.
MAS: Rich Abdill over at Wonkette has posted one of the best explorations of the counterarguments to the gun nuts in America I've ever read, thus neatly proving that we snarkcastic folks are really smart, too.