A team of 26 bicyclists will ride 400 miles from Newtown to Washington, D.C. in four days, beginning Sunday morning [it's Sat March 9 - ed], organizers said.This is an amazing show of support for the community. These are elite riders:
The community will give the "Sandy Hook Ride on Washington" a sendoff at 8:30 a.m. at Reed Intermediate School, 3 Trades Lane, hosted by First Selectwoman Pat Llodra.
Among the others making appearances will be U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5, and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4.
The riders will arrive in Washington, D.C. for a press conference on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at 1 pm on Tuesday.
The Sandy Hook Ride on Washington aims to memorialize the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School by raising awareness about the immediate need for gun safety legislation.
Three of the riders are from Newtown, including Monte Frank, Bill Muzzio and Chris Peck. Two riders have children who went to the Sandy Hook School and the team includes parents, teachers, a Newtown police Officer and a Vietnam veteran.
They are a mix of professional, top amateur, and masters cyclists from the Northeast. Our team includes a former US National Team member, Canadian National Team member, Masters National Champion, and State and Regional Champions.Why are they doing it?
We support measures to help curb gun violence:Newtown is an amazing place, with so many people wanting to contibute in ways they can. Quilters quilt, riders ride, and so many people in town contribute in ways great and small, some public and many private. Here's more about the riders themselves. And there's more politics below the fold.
• Requiring all gun buyers pass criminal background checks*
• a ban of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines*
• making gun trafficking a federal crime, including real penalties for “straw buyers”*
• strengthen gun ownership restrictions for people with severe mental illness
We understand this issue is complex; but together we can ensure that specific actions are taken to prevent tragedies like those in Newtown, CT. Keeping children safe is an obligation we all share.
*source: Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Some of the gun lobby’s strongest allies are breaking with the National Rifle Association to support proposals that would expand background checks for private firearm sales.Legitimate dealers would likely benefit; this looks like a big deal to me.
In behind-the-scenes talks with congressional staff members and others, gunmakers, dealers and other Second Amendment advocates have offered support for more instant criminal background checks, buoying the hopes of gun-control supporters, including President Obama, who has put a top priority on extending criminal checks to private sales.
The trade group for the nation’s leading firearm manufacturers said it will not actively oppose the expansion of background checks, which are designed to prevent guns from reaching criminals or the seriously mentally ill.
Greg Sargent talks about "the next big fight":
Here’s how this all fits in with the sequester and the government shutdown fight. Ever since Obama signaled that he supports extending funding of the government past the shutdown deadline of March 27th at the levels agreed to in the 2011 Budget Control Act — which would continue funding at the lower sequester levels, since the sequester will be operative — it has been more or less a foregone conclusion that this is what’s going to happen. House Republicans have rolled out legislation to continue funding the government at the sequester levels through September, with some steps taken to mitigate damage to defense. It seems likely that Democrats will accept this, or that they will push their own minor changes to the non-defense side and that some kind of deal will be reached with Republicans to keep that funding going. Either way, the funding of the government will continue at the lower level.And yet another chance the Hastert rule will be broken and resolution will be with Democratic votes. Get used to it.
That brings us to the debt ceiling hike next month as the point around which the next fight could take place.
Rory Carrol/NY Times:
After oil wealth, theatrical flair was the greatest asset of Mr. Chávez, the president of Venezuela since 1999, who died Tuesday from cancer. His dramatic sense of his own significance helped bring him to power as the reincarnation of the liberator Simón Bolívar — he even renamed the country the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.Chávez has, to put it mildly, a mixed legacy.
That same dramatic flair deeply divided Venezuelans as he postured on the world stage and talked of restoring equilibrium between the rich countries and the rest of the world. It now obscures his real legacy, which is far less dramatic than he would have hoped. In fact, it’s mundane. Mr. Chávez, in the final analysis, was an awful manager.
Seven out of 10 say Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican have done a poor job of handling sexual abuse, a significant rise from three years ago. A majority said that the issue had led them to question the Vatican’s authority. The sexual abuse of children by priests is the largest problem facing the church, Catholics in the poll said.Ian Reifowitz writing In These Times:
Three-fourths of those polled said they thought it was a good idea for Benedict to resign. Most wanted the next pope to be “someone younger, with new ideas.” A majority said they wanted the next pope to make the church’s teachings more liberal.
A Nazi History LessonFascinating read.
Alienated whites in Obama’s America