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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

What Would Molly Ivins Say?

Good question:

In truth, there is no rational argument for guns in this society. This is no longer a frontier nation in which people hunt their own food. It is a crowded, overwhelmingly urban country in which letting people have access to guns is a continuing disaster. Those who want guns---whether for target shooting, hunting or potting rattlesnakes (get a hoe)---should be subject to the same restrictions placed on gun owners in England---a nation in which liberty has survived nicely without an armed populace. […]

Molly ivins screen grab
Molly Ivins
Michael Crichton makes an interesting argument about technology in his thriller "Jurassic Park." He points out that power without discipline is making this society into a wreckage. By the time someone who studies the martial arts becomes a master---literally able to kill with bare hands---that person has also undergone years of training and discipline. But any fool can pick up a gun and kill with it.

"A well-regulated militia" surely implies both long training and long discipline. That is the least, the very least, that should be required of those who are permitted to have guns, because a gun is literally the power to kill. For years, I used to enjoy taunting my gun-nut friends about their psycho-sexual hang-ups---always in a spirit of good cheer, you understand. But letting the noisy minority in the National Rifle Association force us to allow this carnage to continue is just plain insane.

March. 1993.

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold...

C & J for Monday, December 17, 2012

Note: If you'd like to send a card expressing sympathy and support to the kids and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, the address is: Sandy Hook Elementary School, 12 Dickenson Drive, Sandy Hook, CT 06482.

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By the Numbers:
Days 'til 2013: 18
Days 'til the Riverside Dickens Festival: 48
Percent of executive positions held by woomen at Fortune 500 companies: 14.3%
Percent of board seats women occupy: 16.6%
(Source: the non-profit Catalyst group)
Number of New Hampshire's 18 ski resorts that will be able to have a 100-day season in 2039, according to the Center on Climate Change at the University of Waterloo in Ontario: 7
Number of New York's 36 ski areas that will: 9
Number of countries represented by the 72 contestants at the Professional Darts World Championship in London, which ends on Jan. 1: 21

Random NFL Score:
Seattle: 50  Buffalo 17

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Puppy Pic of the Day: Unfortunately the only song this one knows is Gangnam Style.

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JEERS to more madness. What happens in the wake of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado  Oak Creek, Wisconsin  [insert any of the countless other towns here] Newtown, Connecticut, aside from the anger and grief, is depressingly predictable: gun control advocates will wisely suggest that this might be a good time to review our federal and state firearms policies so that our nation's shameful record of gun violence might be improved upon.  The NRA will respond by scaring politicians into looking the other way by informing them that, "We'll be scoring you on your response."  Meanwhile right-wing bloggers and numbskull pundits will insist that if only those theatre-goers Sikhs innocent bystanders children and school staff had been allowed to be armed with AK-47s, they would've been able to return fire Rambo-style and no one but the gunman would've been harmed.  I sure would like to be proven hopelessly wrong one of these times.  Maybe this time.  Maybe.

P.S.  The family of victim Emilie Parker, who was 6, released this photo from yesterday's family meetings:

The family of Sandy Hook victim Emilie Parker, who was 6, released this photo from their family meeting with President Obama.
Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy said at last night's prayer service: "We will move on.  We will never forget."  Let's pray that part of the moving on part includes some presidential signatures along the way.

CHEERS to the original airhead.  On this date in 1903, Orville Wright made the first controlled, sustained flight in a power-driven airplane at Kitty Hawk on North Carolina's Outer Banks:

Wright Brothers 1903 plane
True Fact: Orville was taken aside
by the TSA for a patdown. He passed!
Because the Wrights wanted a strong wind for their next test flight, they waited until the early morning of December 17 to signal the station.  At the time of the flight, there was a 23–27 mile-an-hour wind, and it was bitterly cold.  Soon, Surfmen Daniels, Dough, and Adam D. Etheridge arrived on the scene.

Wilbur and Orville flipped a coin to see who would fly first. At 10:35 a.m., as the plane left the ground, Daniels, using Orville's camera, took a photograph of the first plane in flight with Orville at the controls and Wilbur alongside.

The jalopy-of-the-skies was in the air for less than a minute.  It would've lasted longer but a yellow oxygen mask popped out and scared the shit out of him.

CHEERS to a change of pace.  After years and years, discrimination against men will finally come to an end when John Kerry becomes our next Secretary of State, as now seems inevitable:

Senator John Kerry on Face the Nation
I'll say this: he sure looks like he
was born to be Secretary of State.
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Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts and the Democratic Party's 2004 presidential nominee, is noted for the experience, gravitas and relationship-building skills that could help him succeed as the United States' top diplomat. … In his current role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry has traveled the globe on behalf of the Obama administration to mend frayed relationships.  Most notably he has traveled to Pakistan after a series of incidents, including the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, that had set relations back.
Did someone say "successor?"  That's where the intrigue is, since Kerry's a lock to be confirmed.  I'm hearing that Scott Brown might or---get this---might not run, depending on how much he's got his eye on the governorship.  Former GOP Governor Bill Weld might or might not run.  And Congressman Ed Markey would be a formidable contender for keeping this Senate seat imprinted with Democratic butt cheeks, which would be a major priority of our party.  And also very much the preference of the seat itself, as Republicans have a habit of eating things that don't agree with them.

JEERS to not getting you the information you need when you need it.  I apologize for not giving you, dear C&J reader, regular updates on the "fiscal cliff" that threatens to destroy our republic from the inside out if something isn’t done, in Abraham Lincoln's words: "NOW NOW NOW!!!"  There is no greater calamity on our fiscal radar screen at the moment, and I've shirked my duty to keep you in the loop.  So, here's a complete summary of the progress that's been made since the election season ended six weeks ago, complete with footnotes, end notes, Cliffs Notes and crib notes:

Tumbleweeds in a road
Don’t be surprised if tomorrow's update makes a slight chirping sound.

JEERS to lame attempts at swaying the tin-foil hat crowd.  On this date in 1969, the U.S. Air Force closed its Project "Blue Book" by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind the thousands of UFO sightings they'd investigated.  It might have been more credible if the spokesperson delivering the news hadn't been speaking out of his tentacle.

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Four years ago in C&J: December 17, 2008

CHEERS to the "Green Dream Team."  After enduring eight years of Bush's purely-token energy and environmental appointments (led by Smokestack McFrack and Coalie van Crude), it's beyond refreshing to see that Barack Obama is serious about putting some grownups back in charge.  From his 820th press conference as President-elect:

"Looking ahead, I am confident that we will be ready to begin the journey towards a new energy frontier on January 20th.  This will be a leading priority of my presidency, and a defining test of our time.  We cannot afford complacency, nor accept any more broken promises.  We won’t create a new energy economy and protect our environment overnight, but we can begin that work right now if we think anew, and act anew.  Now, we must have the will to act, and to act boldly."
Shortly afterward, Energy Secretary nominee Steven Chu announced plans to develop cars and trucks that run on a single atom.  Yeah, these guys are good.

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And just one more…

Boston Tea Party painting
Historians agree that, thanks to the elevated
caffeine content in Boston Harbor that day, the
fish got their chores done earlier than usual.
CHEERS to civil disobedience...with pinky extended.  We hope you remembered to throw a few bags of Earl Grey into the ol' woodchipper yesterday, which was the 239th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.  That was the day in 1773 when rebellious colonists dumped a few hundred chests of tea into Boston Harbor.  It was an act of defiance against the British Crown for imposing taxation without representation.  Which is exactly what the modern day "tea party" is all about, plus racism, birtherism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, secession, sour grapes, a shitty status-quo healthcare system, and making the rich as comfortable as possible...but minus the taxation without representation part since they do have taxation with representation.  (Hint: they're called "Representatives.")  We trust they had fun celebrating their high holy day.  But you didn't see 'em dumping any tea in any harbors, that's for sure.  The fines for littering are steep, and the John Galt crowd is cheap.

Have a tolerable Monday.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?

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