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The New York Times is frustrated with the state of the gun control debate.

The debate over what to do to reduce gun violence in America hit an absurd low point on Wednesday when a Senate witness tried to portray a proposed new ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines as some sort of sexist plot that would disproportionately hurt vulnerable women and their children. ...

But there is a more fundamental problem with the idea that guns actually protect the hearth and home. Guns rarely get used that way. In the 1990s, a team headed by Arthur Kellermann of Emory University looked at all injuries involving guns kept in the home in Memphis, Seattle and Galveston, Tex. They found that these weapons were fired far more often in accidents, criminal assaults, homicides or suicide attempts than in self-defense. For every instance in which a gun in the home was shot in self-defense, there were seven criminal assaults or homicides, four accidental shootings, and 11 attempted or successful suicides.

The arguments that guns in the home offer family protection are about on par with the arguments for creationism. And maybe that shouldn't be a surprise.

Come inside for more punditry...

The Miami Herald joins in.

Even after the stunning tragedy in Newtown, Conn., it’s nearly impossible for Congress to hold a constructive conversation over gun control, thanks to efforts by diehard opponents led by the National Rifle Association and its supporters. ...

A Congress that cannot respond to tragedies like Newtown and a long string of horrific shootings before that, stretching back to Columbine, is a Congress that is obviously helpless when it comes to confronting powerful special interests — even in the face of a national emergency.

Sam Wang hunts the monster threatening our democracy — the great gerrymander.
Having the first modern democracy comes with bugs. Normally we would expect more seats in Congress to go to the political party that receives more votes, but the last election confounded expectations. Democrats received 1.4 million more votes for the House of Representatives, yet Republicans won control of the House by a 234 to 201 margin. This is only the second such reversal since World War II. ...

Through artful drawing of district boundaries, it is possible to put large groups of voters on the losing side of every election. The Republican State Leadership Committee, a Washington-based political group dedicated to electing state officeholders, recently issued a progress report on Redmap, its multiyear plan to influence redistricting. The $30 million strategy consists of two steps for tilting the playing field: take over state legislatures before the decennial Census, then redraw state and Congressional districts to lock in partisan advantages. The plan was highly successful.

Never underestimate the power of sound strategy tied to zero morality.

Lincoln Caplan examines another threat to democracy that may hang on the thoughts of one man.

In Shelby County v. Holder, which the Supreme Court will hear this month, [Justice Anthony Kennedy] is likely to cast the deciding vote between the conservatives and moderate liberals in a critical choice about the essence of democracy — the right to vote. The case presents a clash between America’s national commitment to racial equality and Alabama’s contention that states have “the constitutional prerogative to regulate their own elections.” ...

In the Shelby County case, as a federal trial court and a federal appeals court found, there is no room for equivocation. If Justice Kennedy votes to strike down Section 5, he will be calling a halt to an unfinished effort to end what the Supreme Court once called “an insidious and pervasive evil.”

Congress gathered an enormous amount of evidence in 2006 about the persistence of voting discrimination in covered jurisdictions. It found that discrimination was still heavily concentrated in those places and so widespread that case-by-case litigation — what Justice Kennedy has called “very expensive,” “very long” and “very inefficient” — is inadequate.

Elizabeth Cohen says the founding fathers would not have joined in the support for building border fences. The original immigration plan? Come on in! But there was another issue
During the 18th century, there were no illegal immigrants in the United States, but there was a large group of people who posed a far more noxious threat than those who overstayed a visa or crossed a border without an inspection. They were British Loyalists — men who had taken up arms against the American revolutionaries and risked their lives to undermine the very foundation of our union. ...
Eventually, it was decided that even those who originally fought against the creation of our nation, deserved to be citizens.
... court decisions created a sort of temporal formula: time + residence + good moral character = citizenship. We have always imposed a probationary residential waiting period on anyone wishing to become a citizen. For much of our history, that period held stable at five years.
This is your "go read this" pick of the week.

Charles Krauthammer shows what passes for thoughtful immigration policy in the modern GOP. Hint: not much.

Dana Milbank celebrates the joy of knowing Jim Inhofe.

If this is how Jim Inhofe treats his friends, one shudders to think what he does to his enemies.

“I have known Senator Kerry for many years and consider him a friend,” the Republican senator from Oklahoma said this week on the occasion of the Senate’s vote to confirm Inhofe’s dear friend John Kerry as secretary of state. “I again state that I consider him a friend,” Inhofe added.

Inhofe rewarded this friendship by being one of only three senators to vote against Kerry’s confirmation on Tuesday.

Astrophile looks at worlds where the ski report isn't quite so inviting.
...there's no powdery white blanket when it snows on exoplanet HD 209458b. Snow there is black, smoky and hot as hell – resembling a forest fire more than a winter wonderland. Put it this way: you won't be needing mittens.
Wait, isn't there some important competition this weekend? Why yes there is! It's the regional Science Olympiad in which the battling nerds of Sperreng Middle School took second place out of 15 teams in a major upset. On to state! (And congrats to both the kids and my wife, who coached them)

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:14 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sorry I was late... (42+ / 0-)

    Combination of an ice cream binge to celebrate that Science Olympiad victory, followed by coming home to an equally exciting (but not in a good way) busted pipe, kind of screwed up my schedule.

    •  I understand the problem, we have it bad in Texas (0+ / 0-)

      but are Democrats already out flanked on this?

      Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

      by arealniceguy on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 08:42:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So where are the "Bluemap" efforts? (14+ / 0-)

    And if - by some miracle of organizing - we can take over more state legislatures before 2020, will we have the guts to redistrict appropriately?

    •  I think that Democrat should work hard on (20+ / 0-)

      getting voters to vote on getting gerrymandering out of the hands off state legislatures and instead put it in the hands of courts where it will be decided so that many districts will be competitive.

      Also, 2020 will be a presidential year thus a lot of voters will be voting resulting in many taking back many of these legislatures.

      President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

      by Drdemocrat on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:38:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  While I do think we might need to beef up (6+ / 0-)

        the courts' role as the ultimate arbiter over the maps drawn, I still think drawing district maps is a pretty essential feature of democracy and should be left in the hands of elected representatives.

        I'm Madisonian enough to believe that current Republican dominance is temporary, and that their mismanagement will soon lead to a large enough coalition to drive them out of power.

        Hopefully we won't have to wait until 2020 to retake a majority of statehouses, and once we retake them we should be able to hold them through the next redistricting round.

        When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

        by litho on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:54:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can redistrict mid-decade (14+ / 0-)

          Rick Perry did it in Texas in 2003, and the Supremes said it was valid, so as soon as a state goes Blue, it can redistrict.

          We do NOT have to wait for 2020, we need to take back some state houses in 2014.

          We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

          by Urban Owl on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:08:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  they rigged state districts too (6+ / 0-)

            The state legislatures are no more competitive than Congress.

            "And the President of the United States - would be seated right here. I would be here. And he would be here. I would turn - and there he’d be. I could pet ‘im." - Lewis Black

            by libdevil on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:39:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Repugs can do this 2 - this sword cuts both ways (0+ / 0-)

            it would lead to constant redistrictings each time one side gains a partisan advantage in a state  - the stare decisis of redistricting only once every 10 years is better for the natoin in the long run.

            •  The Republicans ALREADY did this. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Minnesota Deb, a2nite, Laconic Lib

              And the Supreme Court approved.

              If Democrats can take a statehouse in 2014, they should immediately redistrict, if only to undo the gerrymandered mess that exists.

              I agree that constant redistricting is insane, but it will only end with a different Supreme Court.

              And in the meantime, there's a lot of R gerrymandered stuff out there. Having a Republican-controlled House when Democratic candidates got a significant majority of the votes is outrageous.

              We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

              by Urban Owl on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:56:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Small quibble (0+ / 0-)

                It's not outrageous that one side controls the House when the other got a relatively small majority of the popular vote (just over a million more votes, nationally, far less than the President's 5 million vote victory).  Given the nature of district level representation, it would be reasonable and not unexpected if in a close House election, Republicans got fewer national votes and still held a 1 or 2 vote majority in the House.  Disappointing, but not outrageous.  But they still have a -large- majority.  The close loss in the popular vote total translated not into a close win or loss, but into a landslide win for Republicans.  That's ridiculous.

                "And the President of the United States - would be seated right here. I would be here. And he would be here. I would turn - and there he’d be. I could pet ‘im." - Lewis Black

                by libdevil on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 03:35:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  The failure mode... (8+ / 0-)

          ... is that those in power are actively working every angle they can to cement that power in place.  The gerrymandered 2012 House elections are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to entrenching minority rule.  Senate filibusters, lobbyists, Citizen's United, hanging chads, voter purges, etc. are having a highly corrosive effect on our democratic institutions.

          I agree that the best solution is for the inherent checks and balances to swing the pendulum back to the center.  In this specific case, though, I'd recommend breaking the feedback loop -- take redistricting out of the hands of those who would benefit (the elected officials).

          It's probably too soon to tell, but so far I've been favorably impressed with CA's "panel of random experts" model and the initial results to gave.

          Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

          by Jim Tietz on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:41:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  We need to start on it now, and we also need (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ratcityreprobate, LilithGardener

        to boot the idiots in the Dem party who let this happen out of the party.
        I personally call this type of sleepiness at the wheel "Durbinism" but I know there's a lot of blame to be spread around.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:17:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  HA! Hahahahahaahhh...<cough>...heh...ahhhh (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David54, LilithGardener

      Liberals using the powers that they have at their disposal in order to consolidate their own power and further their own policy goals?!?

      Bwaahahaahahhaaahaa!!!

      classic.

      The only time Establishment Democrats feel comfortable signing a liberal piece of legislation is when it is printed on the hide of a freshly skinned hippy.

      Oy. Have I gotten cynical or what?

      Please do not be alarmed. We are about to engage... the nozzle.

      by Terrapin on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:31:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Progressives tend to spend their (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Terrapin

        energy on infighting.  That's why it took a Progressive-labeled-centrist President to get really liberal people elected to Congress.  Hmmmm.  An odd mix of realities there.  

        We're the part of the base that has taught Democrats not to rely on us.  We love us some tangential controversy!  Interesting that OFA delivered the successes, after 3 years of being treated as a joke by many who post here.  Maybe we could win if we worked together.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 10:22:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Jim Inhofe...the intellectual 'ooomph' of the GOP. (9+ / 0-)

    The man is a veritable fountain of Neanderthalism.

  •  Kudos to the middle school kids and your wife. (15+ / 0-)

    Been there, done that, kids love it.


    Predicting is hard...especially the future. ~ Y. Berra

    by jim in IA on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:28:46 AM PST

  •  Trad Med speculates... (10+ / 0-)

    A Poet is at the same time a force for Solidarity and for Solitude -- Pablo Neruda / Netroots Radio podcasts of The After Show with Wink & Justice can be found on Stitcher

    by justiceputnam on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:37:42 AM PST

  •  Not creationism. (8+ / 0-)

    Creationism is wholly batshit stupoid-crazy.

    "Self Defense in the HOme" is a very real and very BASIC consideration. It's real. Shit does happen.

    Just not very often: the gun as a self-defense thing to prevent X, Y, and Z is not 'false' - it's just not remotely what is is considered to be by some.

    Propaganda takes an element of reality (smoking marijuana can harm your lungs) and blow it into this huge nightmarish talking point (marijuana causes cancer like nothing else!!!!) which is almost wholly false. Compare it then to something tobacco (350000 deaths per year): with ZERO deaths per year one must wonder - if tobacco kills so many people why are they using potential lung irritation as an excuse to blow $20 billion a year achieving less than nothing?

    Similarly, the NRA MYTHOLOGY about daily gun battles in our quest for work and food blows a tiny reality - measured in the post above: 1 SD shooting for every 22 non-self-defense discharge of a gun. So they do happen but rarely.

    Spending the bulk of one's life musing about the moment when you defend yourself from an armed assault on your humble home, building a religion to it is legitimately questionable but clearly based on the relentless repetition of these propaganda talking points.

    I do take seriously home defense and personal defense - I have spent a lot of time reviewing home security and such and while I believe I 'really should' have a couple shotguns "just in case", I am clearly able to sleep at night without them and I have been so slack about getting out to purchase them....

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:40:56 AM PST

    •  Couple of years ago (0+ / 0-)

      we had a 2 month time of a guy going around pilfering stuff from freezers on porches. Then he started entering homes and stealing meds. Then guns. Several folks who had fallen asleep watching tv woke up to find him sitting on the couch with them.
      They couldn't catch him. He'd carry deer bladders, and use it to confuse the tracking dogs. They chased him up a lane right next to my property.
      I have to walk about 200 feet from the car to the house. At 11pm,coming in from work, was I happy to have my pistol in my hand? You bet.
      He finally got tired of it all and turned himself in. Good thing, because most of us, in my neighborhood anyway, were going armed.

      Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

      by emmasnacker on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:12:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think the dismissal of home defense (0+ / 0-)

      by the pro gun control gang is disingenuous.

      They love to tout statistics like this:

      They found that these weapons were fired far more often in accidents, criminal assaults, homicides or suicide attempts than in self-defense. For every instance in which a gun in the home was shot in self-defense, there were seven criminal assaults or homicides, four accidental shootings, and 11 attempted or successful suicides.
      But they refuse to look at statistics that show assault style weapons are responsible for only .6 of the murders by gun in this country.

      If someone feels more safe having a gun in the home for self defense, it is really no one's business to tell them otherwise.

      •  No one is telling people they can't have (15+ / 0-)

        guns in the home for self-defense (although most gun-control advocates and opponents alike agree than no one needs a home arsenal).  But everyone should understand that having guns in the home is far more likely to cause the untimely death of a resident or provide the opportunity for criminal involvement.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:36:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Strawman? You bet (7+ / 0-)

        Under your logic, the shootings in Connecticut, Colorado, and anywhere else are 'no one's business'.

        Control of gun ownership and distribution was always and has more so become EVERYONES business.

        You're standing on the wrong side of history.

        •  logic fail.. (0+ / 0-)

          what someone does in the privacy of their own home is not comparable to killing 26 people in cold blood.

          Control of gun ownership and distribution was always and has more so become EVERYONES business.
          I can't argue with this..  Just as licensing drivers and autos and state insurance laws protect the public.  But that's not what I was arguing.  I was saying their is a concerted effort by the gun control folks to minimize and dismiss people's perceived need for home defense.

          As far as history goes.. I don't worry about it.  I'll be.. well, history by then!

          •  You miss my point (6+ / 0-)

            Guns that may start in 'their home' become guns that commit these crimes.  Connecticut being a perfect example.  You can't draw a line between the two incidents.  And the type of gun has little bearing on the case - the Connecticut shooter would have - without question - still killed people with a handgun or a shotgun.  Maybe not as many, but dead is dead.

            So claiming that the 'perceived need' justifies gun ownership is a false belief for all the reasons the diarist and many others document.  I'm glad you support controls but your comments minimize the impact of the existence of guns.  

            I'm not advocating the destruction of all guns just as you aren't advocating unrestricted ownership however your direct and unrelenting justification of ownership for a marginal if not false use case  removes you from the reality-based community in my opinion.

          •  The guns used at Sandy Hook were kept in the (4+ / 0-)

            privacy of someone's home, right up until they weren't. Remember?

            Jesus.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 08:59:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  No. Your logic fail. (0+ / 0-)

            Guns are guns.

            You're separating bad guns and good guns by whether they've already been used in a shooting. Which is too fucking late.

            Cart before horse.

            Your Fail.

            "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

            by nosleep4u on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 10:38:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  logic fail (0+ / 0-)

            Because the consequences of gun use DON'T stay in the privacy of one's home, impinging ONLY the rights and freedoms of the person who decides to keep a gun.

            For almost anyone who feels the slightest desire or need to keep a gun in their home, for ANY reason...

            The home is where the guns are.

            1. It is also where most people live.
            2. Where people of all ages typically let their guard down.
            3. Where children play.
            4. Where adults conduct "private" squabbles.
            5. It is where people keep medicines, and take medicines that may impair their judgment or function in various ways.
            6. It is where people visit, people who themselves or their children may have no experience with safe gun handling.
            7. It is also where people eat and drink significant quantities of alcohol.

            The privacy protection principle is strong, but the logic fails because the consequences of gun USE do not stay "in the privacy of one's home."

            The proximity of a gun, can too easily transform a moment of inattention or poor judgment or momentary loss of impulse control into wrecked lives and communities.

            And I'm not even including the right to carry.

      •  Even if children are at risk? n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  The statistics are quoted in order to educate. (6+ / 0-)

        It doesn't have to take.. there's no Constitutional requirement for any citizen to make educated decisions about such matters, while civilian gun ownership is legal.  

        It is important for everyone to understand that the most likely human victim of any gun brought into the home will be a family member, but if folks want to take that risk, our country allows it.

        When extra-terrestrial beings make their first appearance on our planet, and ask for representatives of our species to best exemplify humanity, I'm sending a nurse, a librarian, and a firefighter.

        by Wayward Son on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:42:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True (0+ / 0-)

          And I am saying it is important to educate the public that banning assault style weapons will do near zero to stop violent gun crime.

          Tightened registration will do lots more.  

          Education is fine.. people should know all the facts.

          •  In the words of Jon Stewart.. (5+ / 0-)

            There are no laws that fix all of the problem, but that's not a reason to avoid making any laws at all.  

            When extra-terrestrial beings make their first appearance on our planet, and ask for representatives of our species to best exemplify humanity, I'm sending a nurse, a librarian, and a firefighter.

            by Wayward Son on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 08:23:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Umm.. yes, it is. (0+ / 0-)

              Pointless laws made for show that will cost the nation billions of dollars should not be passed.

              Laws made simply to make the gun control and the "we gotta do something now!" contingent in this country happy are inherently bad laws, because they will do nothing to stop violent crime.

              •  Inconsistent (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LilithGardener

                So perceived risk is enough of a justification for a system of gun ownership that statistically is almost 30 times more likely to result in suicide, accidents, assaults, and murder, but perceived benefit is not enough of a justification to outlaw personal ownership of assault weapons?  And the only reason stated for opposing this law is that assault weapons are rarely used in violent crime?  When they are, the result is catastrophic.  

                •  Gun ownership doesn't need justification (0+ / 0-)

                  It is an inalienable right.

                  Laws that seek to limit those inalienable rights do need lots of justification.

                  Gun violence in this country is done with handguns and some shotguns and some rifles.

                  99% of guns in the home are not assault rifles. They need no justification.

                  I stand by my statement.  A law that purports to be needed to stop gun violence that does not address the weapons that are responsible for 99.4% of gun violence is a bad law.

                  And let's be clear here.  I am not against the limit on magazine size, stricter registration and closing gun show loopholes.  Those are all good things and will go much further in curbing gun violence than a silly ban on assault weapons.. especially one with as many exemptions as some of these proposed laws have.

                  Some say, if it stops even one death it is worth it.  No.  It is not.  Billions of dollars and a whole new bureaucracy to save a handful of lives per year is not worth it.

                  If that were the case we should be banning swimming pools and home chemicals that kill children in homes by and order of magnitude more than firearms. (and several orders more than assault weapons)

                  We need common sense laws.. and gun safety eduction.. maybe make a home gun safety course mandatory.  But bans on guns that kill a handful of people per year is stupid.


                  Selected Causes of Death, Ages 0-19, per 100,000 Population (2007)    
                      Cause           Number of Deaths     Mortality Rate    
                            Natural           36,272    
                            Perinatal Conditions       14,570
                            Congenital Anomalies        6,896    
                            Neoplasms                   2,302         
                            Respiratory Disease         1,442        
                            Circulatory Disease         1,666
                            Nervous System Disease      1,609     
                            SIDS                        2,453    
                      Unintentional Injury             11,560     
                            Motor Vehicle               6,683     
                            Drowning                    1,056
                            Fire/Burn                     544    
                            Poisoning                     972         
                            Suffocation/Strangulation   1,263
                            Firearm                       138    
                      Homicide                          3,345         
                            Firearm                     2,186     
                      Suicide                           1,665     
                            Firearm                       683     
                            Suffocation/Strangulation     739
                            Poisoning                     133

              •  Wrong. And effectively Nasty. (0+ / 0-)

                You equate imperfection with pointlessness.

                And that sir, is so wrong as to be vile & reprehensible:

                According to your "logic", there should be no regulation of anything, no improvements in the human condition, unless it instantly achieves perfection.

                Slavery should not have been outlawed because Jim Crow followed ... according to your logic.

                You posit a nasty and horrid argument. Back off.

                "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

                by nosleep4u on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 10:44:19 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  But it IS the weapon that (0+ / 0-)

        makes possible MASS shootings. It enables fantasists, including those with serious psychotic disorders, to mow down groups.

        In Tucson the gunman sprayed 30 shots before he fumbled changing the clip and was disarmed. Had he only had a 10 round clip the carnage would have been much less.

        I've never heard of a defense of home report with the householder having an assault style rifle.

        But just wait till this newly trendy home accessories falls into the hands habitual criminals and those with serious mental disorders.

        Oh, wait, one did in Newtown on 12/14/12.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 02:55:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The right wing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, xxdr zombiexx, NancyWH, foresterbob

    will never be satisfied when it comes to "border security" as Krauthammer so helpfully points out:

    Build the damn fence. And give “probationary legal status” to the 11 million — not on the day the bill is signed but on the day the fence is completed.
    If the fence isn't built, they can claim that the border isn't secure (because really, we all know the only border that counts is the one where all the brown people come over), and thus vote against any immigration bill.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:41:13 AM PST

    •  Canadians stream into America daily (8+ / 0-)

      unchecked.

      When will we secure that border?

      Republicans should be reminded twice a day, every day, that they are dumber than dogshit.

      A lot more should happen to them, but that;s all I can say.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:51:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You must solve the problem first (0+ / 0-)

      before granting amnesty.

      And that includes overstayed visas as well.  Not just the southern border.

      •  I have a real problem with the word "amnesty." (4+ / 0-)

        Amnesty is a pardon for wrongdoing.  No one is proposing giving undocumented immigrants a pardon for crossing the border illegally.

        Crossing the border illegally is a misdemeanor that carries a fine.  Every proposal being offered by either party includes a fine to be imposed on any undocumented immigrant who comes forward.  The difference is offering these immigrants a path to citizenship, which may involve paying back taxes (a nasty can of worms - some of these people have already been paying some taxes), a waiting period that includes background checks and possibly a provision that they learn English.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:48:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Use whatever word you like (0+ / 0-)

          You miss the point.  None of what you mention should happen until the problem - i.e. open borders and tracking of visa overstays - is solved.

          You otherwise invite potentially millions of new undocumented immigrants into this country to take advantage of the new laws.

          •  The only way you're going to solve the problem (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laconic Lib, SueDe, nosleep4u

            is to ratchet back the corporatist empire that aids and abets the impoverishment of the people in those countries.

            The fantasy that you're going to fix it with more guards, guns and fences is ... well, it's a fantasy. Kind of like the fantasy that you're going to fix the problem of security from crime in your home by building gated communities, installing electronic alarm systems to alert the rentacops, and stashing an arsenal under your bed.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 09:04:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  We should tax the money that is going by wire (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Minnesota Deb, SueDe, nosleep4u

          transfer back to Mexico every Friday evening.
          Construction workers, at least, like to get paid in cash and faithfully hit the Orlando Valuti (or now, Walmart) to wire money directly home to the family. Walmart is now profiting off undocumented workers in that way.
          I've never begrudged the workers that, but they should be paying taxes like everyone else.

          We need a North American Summit specifically to rework NAFTA to fix the problems with it.

          A fence is stupid and an environmental monstrosity.

          Hispanics learn English. They usually know more than they admit. That used to be a way of keeping a low profile. These days I think they use it when they need to.

          Part of the citizenship process is an understanding of civics and the fact that their rights come with responsibilities.
          That is one reason they need to be brought into citizenship.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:36:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  You cannot totally seal a border (0+ / 0-)

        Not even a small country like Israel has totally sealed its borders.

        North Korea has few trying to sneak in yet some do but try as it may the border is regularly breached by escaping N, Koreans. China is fierce about catching and returning their "illegal immigrants" to the certainty of torture. Yet people do get through, travel the length of China, always facing capture and return, till they make their way to South Korea.

        As long as you have quotas so limited that US businesses have incentive to breach them you will have problems.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 03:39:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats need to continue to win presidential (17+ / 0-)

    elections for we MUST change the Supreme Court.  I am convinced of that.  If we keep winning presidential elections eventually one of these conservative justices are going to leave or die so we can get the Supreme Court with a 5 to 4 in our favor.

    President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

    by Drdemocrat on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:41:20 AM PST

    •  that's why Hillary needs to run even if for only 1 (0+ / 0-)

      term.  if we can control the Presidency for 12 years straight, we should be able to remold the US Sup Ct. (not to mention the federal Appeals Courts and District Courts).

      Actually, it could be a huge campaign boost for a Hillary candidacy -

      "If elected, I will serve only one term.  Since I won't be positioning myself for reelection, I will have my hands free to govern without constantly worrying about how any particular decision might affect my reelection...."

  •  maybe the NRA will start pushing (5+ / 0-)

    the idea that every home needs guns so as to have a convenient way to commit suicide

    Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear... Aesop

    by mr crabby on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:42:04 AM PST

  •  Linking "Charles Krauthammar" and "thoughtful" (8+ / 0-)

    in a single sentence is a questionable strategy, practically guaranteed to come up with a negative result.

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:50:43 AM PST

  •  How is extreme gerrymandering not a violation (9+ / 0-)

    of the 14th & 15th amendments?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:51:08 AM PST

    •  Question really is (8+ / 0-)

      how come good lawyers haven't yet been able to challenge these extremely gerrymandered districts in court?  I've seen district maps thrown out by courts, more than once in my lifetime.  Why hasn't the DNC taken this up in a systematic way?

      When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

      by litho on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:01:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because someone from very high up (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, Laconic Lib

        probably doesn't want to be seen as too partisan, preferring to make nice speeches than actually doing something about the things that are destroying this country, lest he make Sally Quinn haz a sad.

        When I see the fighter we've been promised in Version 2.0, is when I'll take such comments back. Until then, talk is cheap. Very, very cheap.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:06:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dunno. The guy who took Boehner to the mat (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NancyWH, wintergreen8694, a2nite

          on the middle class tax cut and the fiscal cliff, who has put the GOP in a bind on immigration reform, who is squeezing finally on gun control... he looks like a fighter to me.

          I don't see the GOP getting any easy lay-ups over the next two years.  But I also don't know why those House districts haven't been challenged systematically.

          For all I know, it may actually be too late already to do anything about it.

          When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

          by litho on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:11:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He's been dipping his feet into the water (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laconic Lib

            more lately, I'll allow, but I still don't see him fully embrace this new "fighting progressive" persona as articulated so brilliantly and forcefully at Osawatomie and the inaugural. He can't have it both ways. I'm not saying that he launch a bitter street fight with the GOP, but there are certain fundamental things that need to be done so that progressive change is possible.

            Among them are challenging the GOP's dirty political strategy, in the courts if need be, but certainly in the statehouses, as well as going after the banksters who still run much of the country, all these shady Citizens United SuperPACs that are undermining democracy, and voter suppression efforts. He & Reid already gave up on meaningful filibuster reform, a very bad sign IMO.

            Personally, I see him as still committed to doing the most possible that doesn't require going up against the GOP or powerful special interests such as Wall St. Meaning, incremental change that can be overturned once the GOP takes over again, that doesn't challenge the unfair structural advantages the GOP has that will make it easier for them to take over.

            That's the transformation I voted for, not this Kumbaya shit.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:51:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Or, it could be that someone who ISN'T (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Minnesota Deb

          the President Of Everyone, needs to take charge of the partisan battles so that POTUS can concentrate on running the country.
          Obama ran against partisanship. If you remember, there was a huge public outcry against the partisanship of the BushCheney years in all the media including the Left and Alt.media (I don't know if it was as loud here, I wasn't around here much at the time).
          But the Media didn't differentiate between the GOP's partisanship and the Dems version. "Everybody does it" was the mantra from Right to Left (even though that was blatantly false to anyone that was paying attention).
          The public demanded bi-partisanship.
          So that's what he promised, to work in a bi-partisan manner and that's what he has tried to deliver.
          The GOP, of course, made no such promise and in fact, on inauguration day 2009, they met to outline their obstruction strategy. And they put that plan into action 100%.
          But Obama continued to try to deliver what the voters had asked for. And for that, he was vilified from the Left while being ambushed from the Right.
          He's modified his posture slightly in the face of continued obstruction, but he will never be the kind of confrontational 4sshole that the GOP regularly vomits up. It violates his campaign promise, it would inflame his enemies further without gaining anything and it goes against his experience and personality. And it could easily get him killed.
          As a perennial outsider wherever he went, he built relationships across major chasms. He was never the Majority Leader, not even a large minority leader. Even in the black community, he was not descended from African American slaves, rather the product of an Irish American mother and an African, from Africa, father. As a community organizer, he had no choice in who he had to deal with, the people of the community were who they were and to work with them he had to find common ground.
          And he is very good at it, unless he's faced with an organized opposition of the sort that the GOP has formed (and which no one has faced before like this, the GOP obstruction campaign is unprecedented).
          For decades now, we have been glorifying the "Competitor" and downplaying, even vilifying the "Cooperator". Obama is, by nature, a Cooperator.
          Doing the dirtywork of sharp-elbows politics should not be up to him, it's the job of the DNC, the DSCC, the DLCC and state Democratic parties.
          And they are the ones who need a fire lit under them.

          If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

          by CwV on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:21:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  False equivalence (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laconic Lib

            LW partisanship <> RW partisanship. That's a RW meme that's been picked up and reinforced by the RW-fearing media. There is absolutely zero equivalence, none, on a moral or ethical level, between rigging the system, and unrigging the system, between trying to destroy the New Deal, and trying to preserve it, between making government serve rich and powerful special interests, and making it serve the public interest (its one and only core job btw)--unless you believe that fighting for one cause is as valid or invalid as fighting for another.

            In which case, we might as well not even have a legal system because both sides are equally contentious are acting badly.

            So I reject the nonsense "the public is tired of partisan fighting" because that's a RW meme intended to keep us from fighting for what we believe is right.

            As for whether this is Obama's job, well, to the extent that this might be illegal or even unconstitutional, then yes, it is his job--or his AG's job--obviously, to do something about it. And as head of his party, it's part of his job to protect his party from such things. I don't buy this silly "I'm the president of all the country, not the Democratic party" nonsense. Unless and until the other side feels the same way, I don't see the point in unilateral disarmament. Only a fool does that. Things aren't going to get better until we crush them. Only a fool believes otherwise. We are NOT "post-partisan", never have been, likely never will be. Politics is war by other means. It's not how I wish things were, just how they actually are. There is no middle path to a better future.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:41:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree with most of this, (0+ / 0-)

              that the Corporate Media and the RightWing have created this false equivalence, but it is out there and is a major obstacle. Too many people buy it on both the Right and the Left (I am not one of them but I can see the trendlines). And Obama addressed that concern in his campaign (in 2008).
              I agree that the GOP's goals are foul and that our side has the moral high ground, but that doesn't overcome the fact that we're outgunned. And with the sniping from our Left, it only gets tougher.
              It's more likely that this would be a matter for Civil Law as opposed to Criminal Law, so it would not be the duty of the AG or the Pres, it would be the Party leadership, the DNC chair et cetera and the Party Rank&File that would have to take this up. Which I would strongly support doing, can we raise some Orange Funds?
              And no we are no more post-partisan than we are post-racial. It's an ongoing fight. I just don't think that Obama is the person or in the correct position to lead this particular battle.

              If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

              by CwV on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 09:05:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would think that violations of the equal (0+ / 0-)

                protection clause could be shown to be criminal, if intent and awareness could be demonstrated, making it a DoJ matter. Also FEC, but it has no teeth and isn't likely to any time soon, especially with the DC court ruling on recess appointments. Notice how comprehensive the GOP strategy is? This has been decades in design and implementation. Why can't we be that strategic?

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 09:41:53 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Because we have scruples? (0+ / 0-)

                  If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

                  by CwV on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 09:59:16 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't see the connection, unless this is snark (0+ / 0-)

                    Having a comprehensive and effective strategy doesn't in and of itself make one unscrupulous. It makes one smart (which evil people can be, alas). The ends towards which one proceeds and the means by which one does so are what determine whether one is scrupulous or not.

                    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                    by kovie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 10:05:15 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And to get to where the Right is (0+ / 0-)

                      takes a willingness to do ANYthing, right or wrong. Legal or questionable, to achieve their goals. They have no compunction about lying, about hurting people that oppose them, about ruining them politically, economically, et cetera.
                      If they had any scruples at all, much of their agenda would not have been implemented.
                      Just one example: The GOP-appointed Supremes. Roberts, Scalia, Alito, even Thomas, dodged, twisted and even flat out lied in their confirmation hearings. Had they been honest, and had their sponsors been honorable, none of those creeps would have been impaneled.

                      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

                      by CwV on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 10:48:08 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

      •  Supremes have spoken (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leo Flinnwood, a2nite, samddobermann

        In 2006, they approved the Texas 2003 gerrymander, with one district needing to be changed a bit.

        We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

        by Urban Owl on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:14:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I thought the question at issue in that case (0+ / 0-)

          was the mid-term nature of the gerrymander, not the district boundaries.

          I haven't read it, so I could be wrong, but my recollection of the reporting at the time certainly made it look that way.

          When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

          by litho on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:20:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Both (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            oxfdblue

            Supremes said mid-decade is okay, and then said all the districts but one were acceptable.

            So now there's a precedent that Democrats can use IF we concentrate on state races in 2014.

            We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

            by Urban Owl on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:00:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  There hasn't been any legal challenges (0+ / 0-)

        to the Republicans' gerrymandering of districts, probably, for the same reason there was no true filibuster reform in the Senate - because Democrats want the option of doing the same thing when they finally have majorities in state legislatures.  Of course there have been lawsuits against those states whose redistricting is under scrutiny by the DOJ through the Voting Rights Act.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:59:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There's actually a very good reason for that. (0+ / 0-)

        Namely, that courts hate to take these cases ... and filters down to lawyers now wanting to take them either.

        As for why courts hate to take them, one has to understand the court must do more than just say 'this map is illegal'. It must also map out a remedy. And that is hard, because courts can't just up and draw maps.

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 10:58:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Have you noticed the Supreme Court? (0+ / 0-)

        And many of the Appellate Courts?

        The biggest damage the Rs are doing is blocking Court appointments. It hurts now and for many years to come.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 03:47:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  South Africa is precedent for this (5+ / 0-)

      Under Apartheid only whites could vote.  But the Boer-National Party racists were concerned they would lose their majority of a minority to the more moderate descendants of British settlers, Jews and more moderate Afrrikanners, so they gerrrymandered the hell out of the Parliamentary districts to ensure they would stay in power.

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:02:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, we all know how that ended (6+ / 0-)

        for them. Overt oppression has a way of blowing back at you.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:07:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You know, kovie, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Minnesota Deb, a2nite, kovie

          you not only have a great point there, but also, look at what the LGBT community has achieved by refusing to accept RW memes on their rights.  I know Progressives are a diverse group, but so are LGBT's!  It seems we could somehow look at what worked for LGBT, and try to hold together long enough to make it work for us!  How can universal health care, raising cap on income for FICA withholding, and no restrictions on abortion/birth control [to name a few] be harder to achieve than accecptance of LGBT rights?

          "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

          by NancyWH on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:30:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think that there are ANY progressive goals (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laconic Lib, NancyWH

            that can't be achieved in time, since they ALL represent the will of the majority (whether the majority thinks of it as such or not at the time). It's just a matter of adopting proven strategies and pursuing them doggedly and intelligently until they succeed. Gay and other minority rights, universal health care, world class public education for all (beyond high school), 100% environmentally sustainable energy, fairer economic conditions, etc. These are are things that the public wants, and that we can get, if we pursue them properly.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 09:03:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  We learned in school that gerrymandering (7+ / 0-)

      was really, really bad.  

      David Koch is Longshanks, and Occupy is the real Braveheart.

      by PsychoSavannah on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:06:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, there are court decisions indicating it may (5+ / 0-)

      be. I extracted language from two in a previous post.

      Here are extracts from Reynolds v. Sims - 377 U.S. 533 (1964) with my emphasis:

      To the extent that a citizen's right to vote is debased, he is that much less a citizen. The fact that an individual lives here or there is not a legitimate reason for overweighting or diluting the efficacy of his vote.
      Malapportionment can, and has historically, run in various directions. However and whenever it does, it is constitutionally impermissible under the Equal Protection Clause.
      That was an Alabama case explicitly addressing a rural/urban imbalance as we see in these schemes. Two others, collectively cited in "one man, one vote" discussions are Baker v. Carr - 369 U.S. 186 (1962) and Wesberry v. Sanders - 376 U.S. 1 (1964). Gray v. Sanders - 372 U.S. 368 (1963) played a part in ending Georgia's pernicious County Unit System with this from New Georgia Encyclopedia's page on that case's impact:
      Chief Justice Earl Warren once said that the most important judicial pronouncements of his tenure were not the momentous school-desegregation decisions, but the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings that compelled states throughout the nation to reconfigure their electoral processes according to the principle of "one person, one vote." In Baker v. Carr (1962), a seminal procedural ruling out of Tennessee, the Supreme Court held that reapportionment challenges could be brought in federal court under the "equal protection" clause, despite earlier suggestions that cases of this kind were "nonjusticiable."
      So, despite many comments even here that courts cannot get involved, these cases indicate that is not precisely true. Of course after decades of GOP packing of courts with ideologues, particularly SCOTUS, it precedent may not count.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:26:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Equal protection was exactly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        what I had in mind. Obviously hard to prove violations of it, but I'm sure it can be done, and certainly worth pursuing.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:56:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Voting Rights Act Focuses On Race Not Party (0+ / 0-)

      Interesting couple of paragraphs from this October Atlantic article.

      ... The Tar Heel State has a history of election discrimination and is therefore one of the jurisdictions covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires that electoral maps be approved by either a federal court or the Justice Department. (Like all other states, North Carolina is also covered by Section 2, which forbids discriminatory practices more broadly.) Hofeller and the other Republican mapmakers therefore took particular care not to “retrogress” the racial makeup of the districts represented by the African-American Democrats G. K. Butter­field and Mel Watt—since doing so would have meant running afoul of the Voting Rights Act.
      ...

      Progressive groups immediately filed suit challenging the North Carolina maps, contending that the state deliberately diluted minority voting power. Hofeller happens to be an old hand at redistricting litigation, and the maps will probably survive into the next decade. (Meanwhile, in a dazzling show of circular logic, Phil Berger, the top Republican state senator, recently refused to allow consideration of a redistricting-reform bill that he had supported back when his party was in the minority, citing the fact that North Carolina is “engaged in litigation on that issue.”)

      Still, legal battles have been the other major factor in diminishing the Republican Party’s success. Given that blacks and Latinos tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic, Republicans have often taken pains to maximize their control of the districts in a way that does not violate the terms of the Voting Rights Act. But the new census results have presented the GOP with a particularly confounding puzzle—one that lies at the center of this cycle’s redistricting controversies. On the one hand, the biggest gains in U.S. population over the past decade have been in two Republican-controlled states: Florida, which thereby received two new congressional districts, and Texas, which was granted a whopping four.

      But on the other hand, most of each state’s new residents are African Americans and (especially) Hispanics. In Texas, the population has swelled by 4.3 million over the past decade. Of those new residents, 2.8 million are Hispanic and more than half a million are African American. While those groups grew at a rate of 42 percent and 22 percent, respectively, the growth in white Texans was a meager 4.2 percent. In other words: without the minority growth, Texas—now officially a majority-minority state—would not have received a single new district. The possibility that a GOP map-drawer would use all those historically Democratic-­leaning transplants as a means of gaining Republican seats might strike a redistricting naïf as undemocratic.

      And yet that’s exactly what the Texas redistricting bosses did last year. Shrugging off the warnings of Tom Hofeller and other Washington Republicans, the Texans produced lavishly brazen maps that resulted in a net gain of four districts for Republicans and none for minority populations. The entirely predictable consequence is that the Texas maps have spent more than a year bouncing between three federal courts, including the Supreme Court. The legal uncertainty has had national ramifications. It meant, for example, postponing the Texas primary from March 6 until May 29, which cost Texas its role as a prominent player in the Super Tuesday presidential sweepstakes—a very lucky break for the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, who likely would have lost the state to Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.

      •  I think it works for us either way (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dogs are fuzzy

        since minorities mostly vote Dem. Anytime minorities are disenfranchised through unfair redistricting, so is the Democratic party. So these cases don't have to mention parties, even though that's the implication.

        Just because it's a tough legal fight doesn't mean we can't win it eventually.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:55:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Michael Gordon and Mark Landler, (10+ / 0-)

    in a NYT retrospective on Hillary Clinton's term as SoS, recounted an eye-opening look into a backdoor attempt by Hillary to more fully involve the U.S. in the Syrian revolution:

    Last summer, as the fighting in Syria raged and questions about the United States’ inaction grew, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton conferred privately with David H. Petraeus, the director of the C.I.A. The two officials were joining forces on a plan to arm the Syrian resistance.

    The idea was to vet the rebel groups and train fighters, who would be supplied with weapons. The plan had risks, but it also offered the potential reward of creating Syrian allies with whom the United States could work, both during the conflict and after President Bashar al-Assad’s eventual removal.

    Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Petraeus presented the proposal to the White House, according to administration officials. But with the White House worried about the risks, and with President Obama in the midst of a re-election bid, they were rebuffed.

    If this is a harbinger of how a Hillary presidency would approach foreign policy - by involving the U.S. in a civil war to overthrow a(nother) dictatorial government in the mideast with the hope of making allies out of the war's winners - I'm seriously reconsidering my wish that she run for president in 2016.

    Hillary's foreign policy hawkishness has always bothered me, but actually planning with the head of the CIA to take an active role in a civil war in Syria is at least a few steps further than I'm willing to go with her.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:51:25 AM PST

    •  Interesting. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare

      "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

      by NancyWH on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:31:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think there's anything (0+ / 0-)

      nefarious about this, if Hillary wanted to present a plan to Obama, she would need the involvement of the CIA in order to accomplish her goals, wouldn't she?
      We took an active role in the civil war in Libya, didn't we?

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:03:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't mean to insinuate that there was (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes, schnecke21

        something nefarious about Hillary's working with Petraeus to craft a plan to involve the U.S. in Syria's civil war.  I don't know whether she worked with the CIA behind the president's back or with his full knowledge.  But the idea that she thinks the U.S. should be more involved in taking sides in the middle east upheavals - to the point of having the CIA, presumably in Turkey and perhaps in Jordan training and arming Syrian rebels, of drawing us slowly but inexorably into that conflict, and also threatening to draw Russia and Israel into it as well, is an indication of a mindset that U.S. intervention will bring about results that we prefer and a government built on democracy that would be our ally.  

        There are dozens of rebel groups in that country, all infiltrated and cross-pollinated by terrorists.  But there is no way of knowing who to support - the group we seem to prefer at the moment does not have the backing of the majority of the Syrian people - and what would keep the dynamics of those groups from changing?

        And speaking of Libya, which was neither a close ally of Russia nor a close neighbor of Israel, we armed their rebels with materiel to fight the Qaddafi regime, much of which was hijacked or stolen or simply scooped up by insurgents who were responsible for killing four of our embassy staffers and now threaten the new interim government.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 09:55:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree and more so. Hillary is (0+ / 0-)

      terribly hawkish. Trouble is she seemed to be content with not intervening in Rwanda. And I don't mean by arming either side.

      I am so glad she didn't get to meddle in the Israeli Palestine situation.

      I really really hope she doesn't run. She is old. (As is Joe.) Against Christie's brash youth ?

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:34:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Guns are dangerous (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, emmasnacker, DavidMS

    Just today, we see a case where the author of American Sniper, Chris Kyle, was shot dead at a shooting range.

    Still, gun control measures have to account for the fact that guns do, often, afford people the ability to protect themselves. Statistical data do not override individual needs.

    The test case here is the woman who is being threatened by her ex-partner. The ex says "I'm going to kill you and the kids." Maybe he uses those words, or just hints at it.

    No restraining order will stop him.

    If he shows up, no 911 call will stop him.

    She either defends herself and her children or is slain.

    Whatever gun control measures are suggested should not, I argue, prevent this woman from harm.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to the man. - dls

    by The Raven on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:53:47 AM PST

    •  In the real world, in your case (12+ / 0-)

      he is much more likely to simply grab the gun and kill her, than to utter the words that will allow her to defend herself.

      Her only real chance to get out of that fight alive is to have no gun in the house whatsoever.

      When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

      by litho on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:03:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So instead he can beat her to death? (0+ / 0-)

        NT

        Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

        by DavidMS on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:24:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Scenario where it might help (0+ / 0-)

        If the woman has escaped to a friend's home, and the ex tracks her down, bellows threats and breaks the door down -- I've heard a 911 tape of that happening. She didn't have a gun. Bad things happened.

        Decent human beings don't like to think about situations like that. There's certainly room to put more work into prevention. A safe house, if available, would have been better. But until events like the one above never happen, there are times when things get so upside down that a gun can actually improve the situation.

      •  too often he hits while she is at work (0+ / 0-)

        killing a few coworkers in addition.

        Think what adding a 30 round gun into that mix would do.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:37:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Dangerous and not sensibly/effectively regulated. (8+ / 0-)

      No one is advocating that this woman you present should not be able to arm herself - we are talking about regulations NOT prohibition.  In any case, just about any regulation will more likely make it hard for the ex-partner to get his hands on a gun than for the woman. On top of that, it is more likely that this woman (and her children) will be shot by the ex-partner if there is a gun in the household - even if it is hers.

      Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

      by DefendOurConstitution on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:04:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Who do you report to? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dogs are fuzzy

      When I kill a rabid raccoon, chase off an aggressive bear, etc. there is no report of the use of my pistol in what is essentially a self-defense situation.  Similarly, trespassers who respond to direction to leave with veiled threats of violence, and comply after being told that they are drunk, and I am not, and I am armed, and they are not, don't get a report (I should point out that from time to time, a conversation is impossible, and that it has been less than a decade since one of those confrontations involved me being strangled by two large young men, whose buddies eventually pulled them off before I had to shoot them - the pistol in my pocket was cocked and pointed at one of their chests while I waited for what I hoped would be an intervention to allow this to return to a stand-off awaiting the arrival of the police.  That event was prosecuted as an assault, and would not show up on a search for firearm use.).  

    •  And then we have this good neighbor: (7+ / 0-)

      "This gun rights backer, armed with his Glock and his blog, is always on alert" quoted:

      He bought his first gun a week before the debut of TheTruthAboutGuns.com. He took a firearms class. He filled out the paperwork and went through the background check to get a permit to carry a gun. He now owns 18 guns.

      “Once you put a gun on, you gain situational awareness,” he says. After he bought his first gun, he says, “I felt grown up. It was like a coming-of-age thing. I felt like an adult.”

      Personally I'd say he "grew up" to be a teen with too much Red Dawn.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:33:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read a similar story on FB (7+ / 0-)

        the other day. A guy went out target shooting with a friend and within a week, he owned a gun. Then his wife bought one after going target shooting with her husband (neither one of these people had owned or used a gun previously).
        They took a safety class and now they both have concealed carry licenses, and carry a pistol on them all the time.
        They both claim they feel safer, even though their gun experience totals up to a few times at a range, and a week long safety class.
        These are the people more likely to shoot themselves or each other with a gun in the house.

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:12:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you read that full article you will note a teen (7+ / 0-)

          like "Oh boy! I'm aware now!" in that story about the bank alarm.

          Now the guy is "packing" he has a "plan" for every situation, so, sitting in a Starbucks, he is ready to "respond" to the alarm over there. With a couple hours of instruction and his "awareness" we can expect a couple of bystanders to be hit by his response and him gunned down by either the "bad guys" or "cops." I've known some of these types, usually not so impressive in experience or presence, that suddenly get self esteem because they are armed. Even with hours of training and some experienced armed police know shit has hit the fan once firing starts and lots of bad unintended consequences tend to happen. With bunches of wannabes packing and full of amateur "situational awareness" shit is more likely than less. Just check with police records.

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:23:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Anecdotal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Urban Owl

      The problem with anecdotal arguments, as opposed to statistical, is that the position can be posed as a false dichotomy.  This is a similar point to one made below.  The options are not limited to possession of a gun or death.  Second, for every story like this, there are almost thirty stories of guns being used for negative, tragic purposes and consequences.  If the emotional, compassionate, and logical imperatives of protecting this hypothetical woman are balanced against the imperatives of protecting those who are injured or killed by accident, assault, and suicide, the clear priority should be increased gun control.

      •  Anecdata is not proof of anything (0+ / 0-)

        Or, to quote someone I am too lazy to look up,

        The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

        We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

        by Urban Owl on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 10:37:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is not hypothetical (0+ / 0-)

      I can't find a reference online, so feel free to disbelieve me, but an arthritic woman in Florida could and did shoot the ex who, at their next to last meeting, had strangled her and left her for dead.

      Yes, there should have been a better solution.

      Yes, she would still have been able to defend herself under a strict permitting system. That was a clear case of being in unusual danger.

  •  The guy who wrote "American Sniper" was shot and (9+ / 0-)

    killed at a gun range yesterday along with some other poor soul. Chris Kyle was a war hero taking out a lot of insurgents in Iraq. The lesson here for me is that we are all vulnerable to gun violence and unless you are sitting at your kitchen window with your rifle resting on sandbags watching for bad guys coming through the hedges or you are riding the subway with your Glock in hand, safety off,finger on the trigger you almost as vulnerable to the actions of some lunatic or criminal as an old man snoring away on his recliner chair or his subway seat.

    •  "...a war hero taking out a lot of insurgents (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Desert Scientist, singe, tb mare

      in Iraq."

      Given the nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to declare Kyle or anyone else knows who the "bad guys" are vs the "good guys" is very naive.  The people who live there have good reasons to consider us the "bad guys."  And, of course, one person's idea of a "bad guy" could be quite different from another's.

      Otherwise, your post makes sense.

  •  I don't like the look of the kid who delivers (13+ / 0-)

    circulars to my door. Therefore, I need an AR-15 with 30 round clip, just in case. No babies crying in the background but I do have plants. You can never be too sure these days. Of what, I'm not sure, but still...Hitler.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:55:03 AM PST

  •  As a friend said to me yesterday (16+ / 0-)

    a gun in the home if you are prone to depression makes it too easy to reach a permanent solution to what is probably a passing problem.

    Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?

    by jsfox on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 05:58:39 AM PST

    •  yup. Since most suicides occur (0+ / 0-)

      on impulses they could be decreased by simple having a waiting period when buying a gun.

      In Israel, contrary to popular thought, soldiers are not allowed to take their guns home when they are off duty. It used to be allowed. When they stopped soldiers' suicide rates dropped by 60% iirc.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:43:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The NRA, the Gun Industry & Maximizing Profits (5+ / 0-)

    We all know by now that the NRA has been co-opted by gun manufacturers to act as a lobbying arm to deflect regulations so that they can make more money. Like the Military/Industrial Complex, the amoral stance of any big business is to simply make as much money as possible. They don't give a damn how many innocents are murdered by guns the same way that the sellers of drones and missiles don't care about the number of "collateral" deaths occur because of their product. The job of a company is to make money and increase the value of its shares for their main customer, the stockholder.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:01:39 AM PST

  •  There is, apparently, some large sporting event (31+ / 0-)

    in my town today. It seems to be a contest to see which corporation can place more logos in public spaces. I'm told that an obloid crafted of pig is involved.

    Will post when I learn more.

    Republicans represent both sides: the insanely rich and vice versa.

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:13:14 AM PST

  •  Four names you should know (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, NancyWH, wintergreen8694, a2nite

    because of what they did this day in 1943

    in this diary to which I invite your attention

    peace

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 06:16:54 AM PST

  •  If the frightened mother w/ child has a gun handy (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, tb mare, Minnesota Deb, a2nite, Urban Owl

    ...to defend from the gang of Big Men suddenly invading, so Big that a semiautomatic firearm with high capacity magazine is necessary, then the the guns are not safely stored away from the children in a different locked safe than the ammunition. Those opposed to gun safety legislation were inconsistent and incoherent all day long.

  •  Insanity on guns..THIS is what we're up against: (7+ / 0-)

    Die-hard gun owner & blogger:

    “Once you put a gun on, you gain situational awareness,” he says. After he bought his first gun, he says, “I felt grown up. It was like a coming-of-age thing. I felt like an adult.”
    Unbelievable!!!!

    must read article in WaPo

  •  I have no problem with sensible gun ownership. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Minnesota Deb, a2nite

    But the definition of "sensible" varies from person to person.

    As one who had to force an unstable person to give up his .38 special I well understand the need to keep weapons out of the reach of mentally disturbed persons.  Thus universal background checks are to me a necessity.  Proper training in gun safety and proper handling is also necessary, as would be liability insurance.  Better mental health programs are also a must.  As to banning "assault" rifles, I could live with that not happening if clips larger than ten bullets were banned.  Better protection for schools - yes, but we need to be willing to payTAXES to support this, not just mandate it with no funding.  These, of course, are my opinions alone, and I cannot speak for others.

    I agree with Vice President Biden that a shotgun makes a pretty effective deterrent and the point was proven by the woman who shot one home invader and chased off another. She DID NOT use an assault weapon, but a 12-gauge shotgun!

    The steps above are not going to end violence, as the critics say,  but (as the president said) if we can save the life of one child (and I suspect that if these rules were nation-wide we would save many more!) we should do it.  Laws against murder by knife or any other method, including guns, do not absolutely stop murder, but you would have to be really dense to believe that they stop NO murders.

     

    •  I would also add gun locks ... (0+ / 0-)

      or locked cabinets or safes when the guns are not in use.  

      •  Agree, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Desert Scientist

        especially on the point about a shotgun being effective for home defense.

        I posted a similar comment a week or so ago arguing that a shotgun is more effective and safer to bystanders and neighbors for home defense and got thoroughly skinned by some of the other posters, telling me I obviously know nothing about firearms.

        It's a tough discussion, even here on DKos.

        When atlatls are outlawed, only outlaws will have atlatls.

        by wheeldog on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 11:01:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unfortunately people who have made their ... (0+ / 0-)

          minds up are often not going to even listen to the other side of an issue.  Being a scientist I am more used (although scientists can be bad about this too!) to a discussion, rather than an argument.  I think the main question should be"What can we do to lessen gun violence?", not "Anything you say is a personal attack on my unchangeable ideals and so I won't listen."

          Also guns, like economics, law, religion, politics, and education are likely to push people's buttons.  It would be nice to have civil discourse once in a while at least.

  •  "a gun in the home was shot in self-defense" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    I should hope that happens nearly never.

    I've been on the wrong side of a gun used in self-defense, and was seriously glad that my friend (thinking it was somebody else on the other side of the door) didn't shoot.

    So was the stalker I had just run down after he vamoosed on discovering the lady was armed.  He stopped stalking her.  I like to think it was my graphic description of what would happen if I caught him again but I'm really not that scary.  

    Guns are.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 08:10:04 AM PST

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