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Michelle Obama, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett will attend the funeral of guns shooting victim Hadiya Pendleton  tomorrow. Here's The Chicago Sun-Times on the significance of tomorrow's event:
By coming to Hadiya’s South Side funeral — not far from where Duncan, Obama and Jarrett once lived — the message is clear:

Urban violence is as much the nation’s scourge as the mass shootings that have so gripped our consciousness. The terror in Newtown is an everyday reality in Chicago, and gun-control measures, including universal background checks and a crackdown on straw purchasers, are even more needed here.

But that’s not enough, which is why Duncan’s presence as the nation’s educator-in-chief is so meaningful. Good schools, good family supports and strong communities can do far more than any tough law ever could. [...] The presence of these three Chicagoans, leaders who undoubtedly feel Hadiya’s loss deep in their souls, is an important start, telling the nation that this pain is simply too great to bear.

Frank A.S. Campbell at Bloomberg on the effectiveness of gun background checks:
Congress responded by passing the NICS Improvement Act, authorizing $1.3 billion in grants to fund state agencies and court systems to create the necessary information infrastructure. Yet even after additional mass shootings, the authorized sums were never requested by the president or appropriated by Congress; indeed, the plan has received only token funding -- $50 million since 2009, or 4 percent of the authorized amount. As a result, information collection remains uneven, the databases full of gaps. [...]
Rather than let the system fail due to insufficient funds, we should emulate the investment approach taken by the government’s DNA Initiative, which for the past eight years has helped state and local governments outfit their DNA laboratories and dramatically decrease backlogs of unanalyzed DNA samples from convicted offenders, arrestees and crime scenes.

Let's go below the fold for more analysis of the day's top stories...

Paul Krugman at The New York Times continues to point out facts to the debt and deficit obsessives:

While it’s true that we will eventually need some combination of revenue increases and spending cuts to rein in the growth of U.S. government debt, now is very much not the time to act. Given the state we’re in, it would be irresponsible and destructive not to kick that can down the road.

Start with a basic point: Slashing government spending destroys jobs and causes the economy to shrink. [...] Realistically, we’re not going to resolve our long-run fiscal issues any time soon, which is O.K. — not ideal, but nothing terrible will happen if we don’t fix everything this year. Meanwhile, we face the imminent threat of severe economic damage from short-term spending cuts.

So we should avoid that damage by kicking the can down the road. It’s the responsible thing to do.

The Seattle Times on Sally Jewell as nominee for Secretary of Interior:
Her political challenge lies with energy exploration on public lands. The Obama administration has granted drilling leases on 6 million acres of public land — too few for drill-first Republicans, too many for conservationists such as President Clinton’s Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.

In December, outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar opened half — 11.8 million acres — of the National Petroleum Reserve on Alaska’s North Slope to drilling. But Jewell should proceed with extreme caution with further Alaska drilling, particularly offshore, and quickly complete a review of Shell’s troubled Arctic drilling efforts.

Jewell’s appointment was greeted warmly by Western Energy Alliance, a group representing independent oil and natural-gas producers, because she once worked in their industry. But Jewell has even stronger affiliation with conservation, boosting REI’s reliance on green energy and serving on the board of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, which has effectively kept the Interstate 90 corridor to Snoqualmie Pass green.

The New York Times on Mary Jo White as nominee for chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission:
Her résumé in the past decade has understandably alarmed advocates of financial reform, who fear that her work as a defender of Wall Street means that she is dangerously biased in favor of the banks and their deregulatory agenda. Her lack of a deep regulatory background is also a worry at a time when the agency’s top priority is to finish overdue rules to carry out the Dodd-Frank financial reform and other securities laws. Complicating matters further, her husband, John White, is also a corporate lawyer, at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, with his own long list of Wall Street clients.

We understand these concerns but do not believe they are disqualifying. Ms. White is a worthy nominee, though clearly, the White House and Ms. White will have to address the conflicts of interest in her background frankly and persuasively. Equally important, she must be able to demonstrate in her confirmation hearing that she is not captive to the financial industry’s view of the world, which has dominated her recent professional life. [...] Her qualities of toughness, tenacity and aggressiveness are just what the S.E.C. needs in a leader. The overarching question she must be asked — and that she must answer — is how she will use those qualities to advance the S.E.C.’s mission, which is to protect individual investors by ensuring that markets are transparent, well regulated and vigorously policed.

Michael Hirsh at National Journal on CIA nominee John Brennan:
Brennan had indicated that he wanted to see big changes in control of the drone program even before his confirmation hearing on Thursday. [...] “A lot of what’s driving Brennan, from what I’ve heard, is that he feels the [drone] program has run its course as a CIA operation,” says Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counterterrorism official. “He feels that basically the collateral damage is causing more problems than any success coming out of the program.” Meanwhile, the debate over the ethics — and, perhaps more significantly, the efficacy — of targeting rogue American citizens and others abroad is going to grow more intense, too.  “My sense is there is a growing recognition that these strikes can hurt organizations but they are rarely the main reason for the end of the organization,” says Seth Jones, a counterterrorism expert at the Rand Corp.

According to other people who know Brennan’s thinking well, he also believes that moving drones to the Defense Department will allow greater congressional and public scrutiny. He fears that if the United States does not lead in developing an ethical and legal policy framework on the use of drones, decades’ worth of international law will be undermined and other countries that are close to developing their own drones, particularly China and Russia, will abuse them. The nominee to head the Pentagon, former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., is nominally in support of targeted strikes, but he is also keenly aware of the possibly perilous precedent that’s being set, and he is concerned about the backlash from “collateral damage” when innocents are killed, possibly creating even more jihadists than are being taken out.

Naureen Shah, associate director of the Counterterrorism and Human Rights Project at the Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute, argues for reform in USA Today:
Drones are the future of warfare. As the first nation to wield them, the United States should set the world's example: Use them lawfully, democratically and sparingly. End the covert drone war and initiate a counterterrorism strategy that is honest about the benefits and limitations of drone strikes.

Instead of tasking the CIA and JSOC with a secret war, we should entrust any necessary strikes to the conventional U.S. military forces that — over time and in response to public demand — have built traditions of complying with the law, reporting mistakes and answering public inquiry.

The Spokesman-Review urges a "relentless" fight against military suicides:
More active and non-active duty troops died from suicide than from combat in 2012. A total of 349 suicides, or nearly one a day, the Pentagon reported last Friday. That’s a 13 percent increase over 2009, even as the military has ramped up its efforts to confront the issue.

Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs released results from a two-year study covering 42 states that shows the number of veterans committing suicide is higher than previously estimated. In 2010, an average of 22 veterans a day committed suicide, up from 18 per day. The lower estimate failed to count veterans who hadn’t sought help from the VA. To complicate matters, about 70 percent of the veterans who committed suicide were over the age of 50, which shows the problem goes beyond the effects of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

It’s staggering to think that today more than 20 former and current service members will lose the fight against depression, alienation, isolation, guilt, fear and the other dark enemies that lurk within. And then it will happen tomorrow and every day after until the military and mental health community figure out an effective approach.

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Comment Preferences

  •  "possibly" creating even more jihadists than (12+ / 0-)

    are being killed? How bout "beyond a doubt"?

    •  even here at Kos, the argument is made (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, Laconic Lib, CoolOnion

      that drones are more "cost effective".  Such beancountery makes my blood run cold

      •  It's an extreme "cherry pick" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        entlord, Laconic Lib, CoolOnion

        It cost less to send a drone than a Seal Team. Or a cruise missile. But it costs even less to "standup" a village council that is a tractor or a handful of healthy livestock away from stability.

        The "payback" is uneven, less than satisfying politically and very long term - years if not decades, and part of the problem is the need to show "tangible, provable" results within a given election cycle.

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:16:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In VN we moved villagers into "secure hamlets" (4+ / 0-)

          (remember those?) and destroyed their villages and fields so as to deny the VC the "sea" that they swam in.  Instead we found the villagers ended up dependent on the government (which was the real goal) and solved nothing because the VC moved into the hamlets as well, since they were also villagers.  We keep on identifying native insurgents as if they were invaders who need to be ousted, revealing our WWII mentality to this day

  •  I wonder how many more children will have to (8+ / 0-)

    die to appease the NRA before an assault weapons ban and restricted magazine capacity laws are passed.

    R.I.P., Hadiya.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 04:38:00 AM PST

  •  Hoping all our friends in the Northeast (12+ / 0-)

    will be safe in the face of the latest storm.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 04:38:42 AM PST

    •  thanks! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, tb mare

      we hope that, too!

      snow is starting... nice gentle fall.

      we expect no less than a foot and a half.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:50:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  just remember there is no climate change though (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib, tb mare

      I note that some NJ pols, who will not say climate change is a reality, is at the same time advocating larger No Build zones and set back zoning, even to the extent some structures will not be allowed to be rebuilt if they are ever destroyed

    •  Leaving a few hours early today to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      beat the traffic, which should be thickest during the worst part of the storm.
      Being Friday, the volumes will be noticably lower anyway. Depending on conditions, I may stop at the store on the way for a few supplies.
      Chips, beer, sugar-free pudding...

      I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

      by Gentle Giant on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:23:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  as long as we don't lose electricity (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, Laconic Lib

      we should be OK. Without electricity, there's no heating system -- very bad. And I don't have a smartphone, so without electricity, no Internet or radio or anything else to connect me with the outside world.

      Stay off the roads after 2 pm today, everyone. It's going to get wicked messy.

  •  kudos to Michelle & company (10+ / 0-)

    for showing that poor black people also matter.

    What would Bush do?

  •  Guns kill people (7+ / 0-)

    Surely the spate of horrific tragedies that have been witnessed across the country will finally be what it takes to get this country to get serious about commonsense gun legislation reform and enact it immediately. America has been held hostage by the NRA and the pro gun lobby for far too long. Now small children are being killed by weapons that have no business being in the hands of ordinary civilians. Our president and this Congress must do something to make sure a tragedy like this never happens again.  -  progressive

    •  Small children have been (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare

      getting murdered as innocent by-standers for years now.
      But don't think a tragedy like this will get pro-gun Senators to do anything meaningful (I'm in a cynical mood today, can you tell?).
      At this point I don't expect the assault weapons to be banned but the universal background checks seem to have lots of support. Plus we need to go after gun shops who sell to straw purchasers who buy guns in large lots then sell them in the cities illegally.

      “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 Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:55:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Guns kill people? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant

      What about the PERSON who pulls the trigger?

      Cars kill people
      knives kill people
      clubs kill people

      What is the common denominator? The PERSON behind the tool. Sadly, NO amount of legislation will ever rid the world of 'bad' people.

      I refuse to sacrifice my 2nd amendment RIGHT to placate naive fools who think that they can legislate Evil. I want the ability to defend myself and my loved ones from the evil in the world which will ALWAYS be there. The 2nd amendment is the only thing which keeps us all from being held hostage.

      Wake up, if history teaches us anything, it is that the President and Congress cannot prevent tragedies.

      •  What Second Amendment right is at stake? (8+ / 0-)

        There isn't any for machine guns. Why should there be for assault weapons?

        The Second Amendment isn't any more absolute than the other parts of the Bill of Rights.

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:06:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not to put to fine a point on it, I think that's (7+ / 0-)

        bullshit.  You're more likely to shoot a member of your family than  anyone "from the evil in the world".

        "A different world cannot be built by indifferent people." Anon from a fortune cookie I got.

        by coloradocomet on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:19:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  New user, one comment. (7+ / 0-)

        Did you join Daily Kos just to chime in on this issue? As a seemingly diehard 2nd Amendment defender with an attitude of No Compromise Ever, you will find yourself in the minority here, but maybe you already knew that. I hope you enjoy Sisyphean tasks...

        „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

        by translatorpro on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:20:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but remove the tool (8+ / 0-)

        and the person by default becomes much less deadly.
        The same day that Newtown happened, a man in China attacked school children with a knife. Not one child was killed.
        See the difference?

        No one is trying to legislate evil, we're trying to REGULATE guns.
        The BEST tool for home defense is a shotgun- you don't have to be accurate to do a lot of damage. Use bird shot, and even your wife could handle the gun.
        There is nothing in the 2nd amendment that says you need military styled weapons to protect your family.

        “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 Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:24:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The BEST tool for home defense is a shotgun (0+ / 0-)

          I used to think that way too. Until - I had to confront a home intruder. A shot gun is a poor choice to use in an inclosed space. It also doesn't work very well in defending your life during a car jacking attempt or from a mugger when walking down a city street.

          "There is nothing in the 2nd amendment that says you need military styled weapons to protect your family."

          I disagree with YOUR interpretation of my 2nd amendment right. I interpret the use of the term "A well regulated militia" as being precisely my right to possess military style weapons. Almost EVERY weapon down through history had it's roots in the military. Many are no longer used... like swords.. but "the peoples right to bear arms shall NOT be infringed."

          So I maybe a dissenting voice here, but that doesn't make it okay for you to tell me how to best defend myself.

      •  Some of these "bad people" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare

        are good people caught in a horrific time in their lives.

        Seriously, the bad guy with the gun versus good guy with the gun does not take into account the complexity of human nature.
        It isn't cut and dried, black and white, night and day. We are all, each one of us, a dichotomy. And we can't help but be affected by our environment and extraordinary events.

        There is no good and evil. There is only an imbalance of the two in any one of us at any given time.

        Go ahead. Administer evaluations for mental health. Today, I'd pass. Next year? Next month? Next week?

        The easy availability of copious amounts of firearms is the only constant in the equation. The logical course and the easiest course is to stem the flow, to contain the flood to a leak.

        We are not static beings that do not change. I can guarantee you that I will never pull a trigger in anger or sorrow. I can guarantee you that I will never kill an innocent being. I can guarantee you I am 100% a force for good. And all of that is true. Today.
        I have no way of knowing what lies in store for me. Neither do you, reader, or anyone else. We are ever-changing, ever-evolving beings. However sentient we are, we can not know what we might become.

        I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

        by Gentle Giant on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:34:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And now we have a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare

      disgruntled LA ex-cop hunting and gunning other cops.

      I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

      by Gentle Giant on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:25:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Re: military suicides (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eeff, skohayes
    U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said she was encouraged that the Pentagon had done a more extensive look at veterans’ suicides, but added that this data must be turned into effective solutions.
    Yes, it's the Pentagon taking that all important next step that is crucial to finally providing some help for all these veterans.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 04:44:58 AM PST

    •  help for vets and for current troops (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant

      I would say that help should be available beginning with Basic and from then on, and that it is essential to remove the stigma counseling carries in some military circles.  At one time, a psych referral could kill a military career

      •  That seems to be the problem (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        entlord, JaxDem

        for active duty- the stigma of seeking help.
        I have a friend who is a pilot for the Air Force. After his second tour in Afghanistan, the Air Force made therapists available to his entire unit (I guess from what he's told me that is SOP in the AF now).

        “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 Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:26:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I understand that more assistance is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          available compared to the Bad Old Days when the brass refused to acknowledge that PTSD even existed, much less that our troops could suffer disability because of it.

          However the military has long had a tradition of "sucking it up" and not complaining.  Anyone who complains or who seeks assistance is a slacker or malingerer.  I wonder if that culture has changed enough so that a career trooper could request counseling and not damage his career or have a stigma attached to him.

          After all this stigma also exists in our general culture as well where someone who suffers from depression is looked at askance while someone who suffers an MI is greeted and treated with sympathy though the two conditions may be more similar than different  

      •  Psych evals ARE available from Basic on. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare

        As Master-at-Arms in my bootcamp company, I recommended one of my fellow recruits for an eval to my company commander (drill instructor). He questioned me about it thoroughly and then recommended the eval and had it scheduled.
        The man in question underwent the eval and was given a general medical discharge. He was a danger to himself and to others.

        Then later in my service, I underwent an eval and received an honorable medical discharge for depression. I wasn't a danger to anyone except maybe myself. My personality could not adapt/accept the regimentation of military service. It was determined I am not given to group think or subjugating my better judgment to orders.

        I've been on both sides of an eval and can tell you from what I've seen, they are there and they do work. It isn't always easy to see if someone needs one. It takes a certain amount of acting out unless, like I did, you ask for one.

        I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

        by Gentle Giant on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:48:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wonder how many of these vet suicides (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare

      involved guns as the instrument of death?

    •  Not just a psychological problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant

      I don't have the statistics, but a large number of the older homeless men are Vietnam-era vets. We are still paying the cost of that war, in lives ruined, drug addiction and alcohol used to dull the pain and PTSD, long-term joblessness and homelessness.

      When a person's life is a shambles, and has been for several decades, having a better shrink at the VA hospital won't really solve anything.

      I don't know if these are the veterans choosing suicide, or if they're classified otherwise when they die on the streets.

      •  Halfway houses are a good place for the vets (0+ / 0-)

        you describe. I had a friend who ran one and cooked for the vets. I also befriended a vet who lived in one.

        There is a certain amount of controlled living- curfews and such, but the men are generally free to move about. It gives them the security they need, the support they need doing the things they can't or won't do for themselves, and still allows them the ability to be productive individuals and to live free lives.

        There is a VA Hospital in the city where I used to live. I talked to a lot of vets from the various wars- WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. There are differences in personality, in the mind and ways of expression these vets have. That's all there was to get used to, to learn how to communicate with them, to know what could be said, what kinds of conversation were best and what you might want to avoid. To a man, they were good people who gave a lot for our country but were marked indelibly by their experiences. There's a lot of value in our veteran citizens. They can give so much and some need us to do what is right for them after the service they performed. Most of all, they need and deserve our respect, our good will, and our concern and action for their safe, comfortable survival. They deserve at least that much. They've certainly earned it.

        I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

        by Gentle Giant on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:03:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  that last article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    In 2010, an average of 22 veterans a day committed suicide, up from 18 per day.
    it that a typo?
    should day = month?
  •  "Use [drones] lawfully, democratically ..." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites

    My mental image regaarding the democratic use of drones was something of an X-Factor scenario. All the targets are presented on TV, then one dials a certain number and selects from 1 through 9 on the keypad to pick the target of the week.

    Just thought I'd share. :-D

    •  Could be a movie. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Some guy is watching the show, and he's been chosen to be a target, and he spends the rest of the movie trying to avoid getting killed and getting his name off the target list.

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:15:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Philip K. Dick rolls over in his grave. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Alpacas spit if you piss them off. So don't do that.

      by alpaca farmer on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:49:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That phrase is so Orwellian it made me shudder. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Are the people who make this shit up evil or do they really brainwash themselves into believing what they're saying?  Doesn't anybody see that Obama's broad definition of "imminence" makes his drone strikes equivalent to Bush's pre-emptive war doctrine and to assassinations with collateral damage?   Combined with the concept of an endless, borderless "war on terror," it takes the war-making powers out of Congress's hands COMPLETELY.  Wonder what Jemmy Madison would think of that.  "Democratic," my ass.

  •  Eugene Robinson on Assassination by Remote Control (5+ / 0-)

    I examine his Friday Washington Post column on our use of drones and offer some critical observations of my own in this post to which I invite your attention

    "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 Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 04:50:36 AM PST

  •  I don't understand all these cabinet officers.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, tb mare

    ...leaving their jobs after four years.

    I could see one or two, but it's almost a wholesale swap out. I've never had a job less than seven years.

    Thank God Sebelius is staying -- not sure anybody else can manage ACA implementation.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 04:55:18 AM PST

    •  I'm hoping it's signaling (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snazzzybird, tb mare

      a change to a more progressive 2nd term.

      “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 Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:57:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know someone who worked just a step (0+ / 0-)

      below cabinet level and didn't even last a term.  Depending on the position, it can take over your life--utterly and completely.  Most people have other concerns and responsibilities that need attention.  High level appointed positions in government aren't like any job most of us have ever had.

  •  Agree the drone thing has run it course. (0+ / 0-)

    Kind of like the cruise missiles: They worked for awhile, then the enemy learned to work around them.

    Moving them to DOD and giving them rules of engagement is probably the right course.

    Still, I never bought that "created more jihadists" stuff.

    The Al Qaeda training camps had a full pipeline of people ready to kill us before we even had drones. What makes anybody think the drones have made any difference in that?

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:02:02 AM PST

    •  have to remember that the terrorist networks (5+ / 0-)

      are complex such as arms for the IRA used to be routed through Chechnya from Afghanistan while ETA terrorists were trained in al Qaeda camps, for example

      The problem is that the drones are not particularly effective with a kill ratio of 10 innocents to each bad guy zapped.  Each one of those innocents had relatives who may have been content to sit things out who now have a reason to seek revenge.  The problem is not the al Qaeda camps since al Qaeda is largely viewed as a spent force but all of its franchises which are springing up and our inability to understand local situations.

      For example, in Mali, there has been a long simmering conflict between the government and the Tuaregs.  Qaddafi's fall exacerbated this conflict between the Tuaregs seeking their own national identity and a corrupt federal government.  Western intervention, particularly the French meant that the Tuareg movement is largely frustrated but the Malian army remains riddled with corruption with soldiers selling guns and uniforms for eating money and is unable to retain control of the area.

      The previous Tuareg nationalist movement was more secular in nature but it appears now that an al Qaeda franchisee has seized this opportunity to try to make that area of Mali into an Islamic republic.  Question is if they will succeed and if not, what will be the final resolution of this apparent 3 sided conflict    

  •  Nice PC drone-speak MSM (4+ / 0-)

    I feel like I'm caught in some kind of Orwellian parallel universe when the "debate" in the media about robot induced death consists of anguished cost-benefit analysis by Richard Haas on my TV this morning, bemoaning the "agonizing choice" between tactical gain versus "innocents getting hurt".

    Getting hurt is when you forget the stove is still hot or you crash on your ten-speed, not when you turn groups of human beings into "bug splat" at funerals days after blowing up those yet to be interred.

    Killing large quantities of women and children for any purpose is a crime.

    "extravagant advantage for the few, ultimately depresses the many." FDR

    by Jim R on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:31:08 AM PST

    •  hey it is collateral damage nt (0+ / 0-)
    •  Reminds me of a scene in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim R, tb mare

      Breaker Morant when Kittredge is discussing prosecuting three Australian officers from the Boer War in an attempt to make peace with the Boers. I paraphrase.

      "The lives of three men is but a small price to pay for peace, I should think."

      Morant's lawyer: "I doubt the three officers in question would agree the price is small, sir."

      Costs. Measured in monetary units. Measured in lives. Measured in the sacrifice of and damage to our national ethical and moral health. These measures are not the same and the spending of even one can render the others moot.

      I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

      by Gentle Giant on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:16:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  HOW can we (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, Gentle Giant, tb mare

    drive a stake through the heart of the deficit vampire and the austerity lies?  People are suffering beyond what I've seen in my life time (in the US).  What do we have to do?

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:37:12 AM PST

  •  An effective approach to reducing suicides is (0+ / 0-)


    This kids are jacked up, I see it every day, and there's only so much we can do to help them.

    Dog is my co-pilot and I just try to fly like he thinks I can...

    by Therapy on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:39:01 AM PST

  •  Ashley very afraid...... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, tb mare
    •  Wouldn't it be fun (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skillet, snazzzybird, tb mare

      If Rove started spending more of his donors' millions on attack ads, and then Judd decides not to run?
      I would LMAO.

      “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 Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:02:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Goopers can't afford not to be too careful....2014 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is Do-Or-Die for them.

      •  Rove doesn't care. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        For every dollar he spends, he gets a cut of probably 10-20% in his pocket. He's in it for the grift. Just needs enough "results" to keep the donor money flowing in.

        "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

        by gritsngumbo on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:58:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, his results seem to be lacking (0+ / 0-)

          I wouldn't give the guy another dime with his record, but common sense is very underappreciated on the right.

          “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 Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 09:06:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  a relentless campaign against military suicides (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, Gentle Giant, tb mare

    would be a limit on the number of combat tours a grunt has to pull and sufficient psych resources available before the tour, during the tour and after the tour.  Things are better than they were once, but there remains room for improvement.

    Add to this enhanced pay and benefits for ruck humpers so they don't have the economic stresses of everyday life added to them as they pull their tours.  Who would not become depressed or suicidal to hear the kids back home need shoes for school or that the car is up for repo?

    I would add one more element which would be COIN related, namely more cultural training to prepare troops to interact in an alien culture.  Too often in the past, military culture has devalued foreign cultures and even ridiculed them.  Increased education in the culture where the troops face immersion could help with the culture shock, particularly for troops who have never been outside the US

    •  Limited tours. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, entlord

      Indeed. When we first discussed how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were to be fought and it was determined there would be no draft and that even reservists would see multiple tours... before we even entered the theater of war we were bandying about the psychological damage to our warriors. We knew going in and we went anyway.

      All the while, not only did we not have an exit strategy, we did not begin to prepare for the return of our men and women and the needs they would bring home with them. It's to our global shame. Now we play catch-up with their lives.

      I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

      by Gentle Giant on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:19:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Arne Duncan and the words (5+ / 0-)

    "good schools" don't belong together in the same sentence.  His policies have done significant harm to public schools that were already considered "good schools."

    “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

    by musiclady on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:58:06 AM PST

  •  i cannot get on board (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, grrr

    with this executive branch idolatry. "Mom-in-chief" ??? Are you freaking kidding me?!

    My disgust, of course began with Dubya, where we were supposed to dismiss his lies and blatant evil because he was just "such a nice guy to have a beer with."

    I heard Chris Rock recently call Obama our "father." Such nonsense can only lead to law being concocted in some secret room in the executive branch, and relayed via some secret memo.

    I'm telling you, it'll happen any day now. Oh already has?

  •  If this congress, and president, are dead set on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, tb mare

    agreeing on some sort of "grand bargain" now, per Krugman's perspective, they should at least build in a trigger in which they all don't take effect until certain economic criteria are reached (e.g. unemployment reaches a certain level, GDP reaches a certain level, etc).  That way the economy could better handle the tax increases and spending cuts, but also everyone (read: GOP) would have an incentive for jobs and the economy improving.  Sad that half our leaders need an incentive to want that, but such is the GOP.

  •  "is as much the scourge"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare

    Let me see --
    10s of thousands vs dozens.
    10s of thousands vs dozens.
    10s of thousands vs dozens.

    Nope, no matter how many times I do it, tens of thousands is a whole more than dozens.

    Mass killings are horrible and showy.
    They scare middle-class white people in nice neighborhoods.
    We should do what we can to prevent them.

    But compared to urban violence?

    Not even statistical noise.

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

    by dinotrac on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:27:53 AM PST

  •  Dammit (2+ / 0-)

    This work computer keeps eating my comments!! (Maybe I should be working...)

    Anyway, here's something from Mother Jones this morning on other pies the NRA and Wayne LaNUTJOB had their fingers in during the 1990s:

    CrimeStrike arose out of necessity. The NRA had come into its own as a political power during the Reagan era, but by the early 1990s, it was strapped for cash. The organization ran up a $9 million deficit in 1991 and was on pace for a $30 million shortfall in 1992, even as it was preparing to go to the mattresses over assault weapons and background checks. The NRA needed a shot in the arm.

    LaPierre launched CrimeStrike that spring with $2 million in seed money from the parent organization and a simple platform: mandatory minimums, harsher parole standards, adult sentences for juveniles, and, critically, more prisons. "Our prisons are overcrowded. Our bail laws are atrocious. We'll be the bad guy," he announced.

    The NRA took its case to the public. "Will you let criminals rape your rights?" asked a four-page ad in a 1994 issue of Field & Stream magazine. And the real culprit was in the White House: "The Clinton administration has already cut federal prison construction by $550 million in favor of 'community placement' and 'criminal rehabilitation programs.'" This was reviving an old conservative talking point: Democrats were soft on crime. The ads featured LaPierre's signature and bespectacled, stoic face at the bottom, alongside a 1-800 number interested volunteers could call. It was a membership hotline.

    Does it surprise you at all that the NRA was one of the forces behind the "Three Strikes and you're out" campaigns? Or mandantory minimum sentencing?

    “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 Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:31:40 AM PST

  •  Fox News and the STOOPID (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, grrr, tb mare

    Fox news "expert" says the reason that Germany is so far ahead of us in solar panel use is because GERMANY GETS MORE SUN.

    Thanks to Fox News and its expert commentators, millions of Americans now understand the real, hidden reason why Germany's solar-energy industry is so much further along than ours. Turns out it has nothing to do with the fact that Germany's government has long supported the industry far more generously, with policies like feed-in tariffs that stimulate investment in green technologies. No, the real reason is much simpler, explained a trio of journalists on Fox & Friends: It's always sunny in Germany!

    "The industry's future looks dim," intoned host Gretchen Carlson at the beginning of the segment, which was preserved for posterity by the liberal blog Media Matters for America. She and her co-host went on to ridicule Obama's "failed" solar subsidies, adding, "The United States simply hasn't figured out how to do solar cheaply and effectively. You look at the country of Germany, it's working out great for them." Near the end of the segment, it occurred to Carlson to ask her expert guest, Fox Business reporter Shibani Joshi, why it might be that Germany's solar-power sector is doing so much better. "What was Germany doing correct? Are they just a smaller country, and that made it more feasible?" Carlson asked.

    Joshi's jaw-dropping response: "They're a smaller country, and they've got lots of sun. Right? They've got a lot more sun than we do." In case that wasn't clear enough for some viewers, Joshi went on: "The problem is it's a cloudy day and it's raining, you're not gonna have it." Sure, California might get sun now and then, Joshi conceded, "but here on the East Coast, it's just not going to work."

    Video and a very cool solar map of the US versus Spain and Germany at the link.

    “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 Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:37:08 AM PST

  •  background checks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib, OldGrandet

    Don't know why no one seems to notice that the most popular measure being discussed in the "gun control" debate is one that would disproportionately affect minorities, particularly people of color.  The first item on a "background check for gun purchases would obviously be "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?"  Look at the demographic data to see who is most likely to have to check yes on that line.  What other bits of information might be deemed germane to deciding who is "fit" to buy a gun?  Economic status? (have you recently lost a job, your home, filed for bankruptcy)  Religious affiliation?  Place of birth?  One factor often cited is "mental health".  How would that be assessed?  Easy to see a simple one line "Are you now or have you ever been under a doctor's care for depression, mood swings, suicidal behavior etc.  Maybe the majority of Americans are OK with this but it makes me more than a little uncomfortable as a progressive and it reminds me a little of how the Dems abandoned single payer health care for the insurance model which is , imo, the source of most of our problems in achieving universal affordable care.  There is a reason background checks are supported by repubs and that ought to give the rest of us pause.

    •  Single payer was never on the table (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Never had enough support to even bring it to the table.

      On background checks, you might fill out some questionaire, but a background check means your name is run through a database (managed by one of our federal law enforcement agencies, the FBI).
      Will a prior conviction for assault or B&E prevent you from buying a gun? I certainly hope so.
      Your assumption that more people of color commit crimes is actually wrong though- the fact is, while more people of color are convicted and serve longer sentences than white, crimes are commited by the white population at about the same rate (higher in some crimes like drugs, a bit lower in others like murder) as African Americans.

      “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 Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:21:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  skohayes (0+ / 0-)

        1) You mean like restrictions on assault weapons/ high capacity mags lack enough support?  If we fail to press for what we believe is right because it's not sufficiently popular change becomes impossible.
        2) what do you suppose the database will consist of?  The makeup of such a collection is my point.
        3) Will a prior conviction for possession of someone else's prescription meds or  downloading copyrighted music disqualify an applicant?
        4) I made no such assumption, you acknowledge conviction rates are disproportionately higher among people of color.
        Thanks for your reply, this is why I posted.

  •  The failure to enact meaningful gun violence (0+ / 0-)

    has another root cause: campaign finance.

    ~those in a position to enact serious laws need serious money to run their next campaign

    ~those standing in the way of serious laws provide that money

    Thus, too often Congresspersons and Senators choose money over people.  Those who stand on principle often get besieged by negative advertising and huge campaign contributions to challengers.  Until we take away the financial incentive for Congress to legislate for dollars, we will have a tough, tough time getting laws that serve us.

    "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

    by SottoVoce on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:05:15 AM PST

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