Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Lost Down the Barrel of a Gun

I didn't really follow the story closely yesterday about the Virgina Tech shooting. I guess it's because i've become so jaded towards violence in this country that i'm neither shocked, or concerned whenever I hear about it. Today, though, I read the full story about exactly what happened at VT. First, I would like to express my sincerest condolences to the victims of that tragedy and their families. What happened yesterday was a sick, twisted, and unacceptable act that cannot be justified by any behavior. There is never a good reason to go anywhere and just pull a gun on a bunch of people.

I've always been anti-gun, and when I hear about things like this it usually lights a fire underneath me. There are lots of problems with the gun laws in America, and yesterday 32 people had to die because of them. The shooter, it is said, had been suffering from depression and was taking medication to treat the condition. Yet, he was still able to purchase a 9mm Glock pistol. There are background checks that are conducted on people who purchase weapons, but obviously the checks are not effective enough to filter out those who have no reason owning a gun. Clearly these background checks MUST extend into medical records. I understand the patient/doctor privacy laws, but if people who have a record of depression and/or violence, doesn't it make sense to make these records available to respective background agencies?

I live in the South. I've heard every reason why guns need to be kept around. The most common reason being that it's important to keep a gun in the house to protect the family from any unwarranted break-in. I guess the thinking on that is when the high pressure situation of confronting a burglar, who most likely is armed themselves, arises the person who owns the gun will be able to aim steady, shoot accurately, or hope it scares the burglar into submission. Let's also assume the gun owner keeps all of his guns, fully loaded, in the bedroom. Our right to bear arms in this country is an embarassment. The arguments to keep the amendment around are weak. If we, as a country, want to put an end to violence like this then we MUST ratify the constitution to ban the ownership of guns.

But then again, by next week, everyone outside of Virginia will have already put this tragedy out of their minds. We didn't learn anything from Columbine. We won't learn anything from this.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Plugging the Leaks

With all the talk about important anti-terror measures being leaked I think this is a good time to bring up a few points.

First, the programs that are supposedly oh-so-vital to the capture and elimination of terrorists/terrorism are being leaked by the press. The most recent being the program designed to monitor international wire transfers to banks overseas.

The politicians who lambast these publications for talking about these programs don't do them any justice by drawing attention to the programs by venting their frustrations via open airwaves.

The same naysayers will then turn around and leak the commanding general in Iraq his strategy for slowly withdrawing troops and bringing them home.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pardon Me

When an executive signs anything into law they have the option to sign a pardon into the bill that states they do not have to follow the law they are signing into action. This is a perfectly legal tatic.

Over the past 200 years of presidents the pardon has only been used 5 times.

George W. Bush has taken advantage used the pardon 750 times.

Friday, June 09, 2006

No More Terror!

It's easy to get wrapped up in al-Zarqwai's death. It's even easier to view this as a massive turning point in the Iraq war. I like to believe that it is a turning point, and that sectarian violence is going to decrease.

What has happened here is surely a victory for America. However, this can easily turn into a momentum swing for al qaeda. It has been said that al-Zarqwai's role was inflated by the US. There had to be a scapegoat for the sectarian violence in Iraq, and Zarqwai was made that man. It's also easier for the US public to support something when there is a clear goal (i.e. eliminate Zarqwai).

I don't want to undermine what has happened here, because I do feel like this is a monumentous event for our troops. But, let us not forget that al qaeda thrives on martyrdom. Al-Zarqwai has been made a martyr, and sometimes that makes the deceased individual even stronger. Also, on many occassions, it has been proven that these qaeda operatives can still be effective, if not stronger, without leadership.

So, lets go ahead and celebrate what has gone on here because it is surely a day of triumph. But, we have to make sure not forget who our enemies are, and what they are capable of.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

This is it

The divorce rate in the United States is approximately 50% among married men and women. The divorce rate among same-sex couples is about 0%.

What does that tell you about the sanctity of marriage?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dirty Harry

Harry Reid was caught by the Associated Press accepting free tickets to a boxing event in Nevada, his state of representation. Reid is sponsoring a bill in the senate that is designed to make it more difficult for lawmakers to accept gifts from lobbyist groups attempting to gain support in the congressional ranks.

In Nevada the Federal Boxing Commission exists. This is the governing body of boxing in the state of Nevada. The Boxing Commission in Nevada feels threatened by the possiblity of another commission being formed to make sure the Nevada Commission are doing things right. Reid says that accepting these tickets (to three matches) was not a conflict of interest, but many see this as the Nevada Federal Boxing Commission trying to get Reid alone so they can attempt to convince him to vote against the formation of another ruling body.

I have always thought for quite some time now that Harry Reid is the wrong man leading the democrats. He seems dysfunctional, and can never do anything without contradicting himself. If the democrats expect to do anything this year they need to find a quick cure to their Kerryitis (awful timing disease), and fast.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Energy Inefficient

George Bush can easily establish an energy commission in the senate that would explain to Americans why gas prices are so high. Instead he authorizes an investigation into price fixing and gouging which, essentially, isn't going to solve our "addiction" to oil. If Bush and congress were to pass into a law a set of harsh measures (i.e. higher gas taxes, fuel-efficiency standards starting at 30 and rising to 40 mpg, tax credits for new technologies*) we could begin our petroleum detoxification.

Fareed Zakaria says it best: "...it would signal to the market that demand for oil in the United States was likely to stabilize. The fear, uncertainty and speculation that is built into the price of oil right now would ease. I could see the headline now: GOVERNMENT ACTS BOLDLY; OIL PRICES DROP. That's not just good economics, it's good politics."


*source

Bush raises taxes on Teens

According to today's article in the New York Times the tax cuts Bush passed for the mega-rich will be financed in part by tax increases on teens. Teens 14 - 17 years old who are saving for higher education will pay an extra $2.2 billion in taxes over the next decade.

By signing this GW not only broke a promise (never to raise taxes on anybody - a stupid promise in my view, but one he made nonetheless) but also discourages kids from (a) saving and (b) aspiring to higher education.

Great job George.