People pull the triggers, but guns are designed to kill. Let's keep that in mind as the inevitable, mind-numbing, brain-tangling arguments resurface to cloud the issues yet again. Guns are engineered, tested, and refined to kill--rapidly, efficiently and without malfunction.
That is what the technology is designed to do. Period.
As philosopher Evan Selinger put it in the Atlantic after the Colorado shooting, thinking of guns as value-neutral has consequences. Unlike other pieces of technology that sometimes become instruments to kill people--such as cars, say, or knives--guns are designed for no other purpose.
Guns are made to kill. And we've allowed them to be treated as mere consumer items, or as recreational gizmos. They're not. Automatic weapons in particular are designed to kill many people at once.
Given the damage they can do, they should require licensing as heavy as those for someone driving a backhoe or a train. They are a serious technology that now fill private arsenals all over the country, and we know very little about who has them--and why.
So Canadians are re-enacting the War of 1812. Interesting. And the federal government is paying for the ads:
Although it produced “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the War of 1812 does not get much attention in the United States. In Canada, however, the federal government is devoting surprising attention to the bicentennial of the conflict, which it describes bluntly in a new television commercial as an act of American aggression against Canada.
As a Canadian, the War of 1812 isn't new to me. I grew up reading about it in history books, typically framed in lesson plans as the "War Americans Lost But Refuse To Admit." It was our good, defensive, war.
However, today's Times article confirms a feeling I've been having for some time: Prime Minister Harper is fanning the flames of anti-Americanism to disguise his own destructive, extremist, anti-regulatory agenda. And it's working.
John Heilemann has a thoughtful post-debate analysis in yesterday's New York Magazine.
Never mind that he extended a stiff middle finger to the fire-breathing right by recasting himself as Moderate Mitt. After weeks of having a likely loss jammed down their throats, conservatives thrilled at the taste of victory on their tongues.
We can't let Romney get away with erasing months of pandering to right-wing extremism. Wingnuts may be going along for now, but if a few journalists do their jobs, and ask the candidate and his surrogates on the record which position he actually stands for, which Romney is actually running, he'll soon by tripping over his own contradictions. He's going to have to answer to somebody
A massive march is planned today in Montreal to protest coercive legislation that makes it a crime to hold a demonstration. Aside from a few diaries posted by engreve recently, almost nobody is talking about the lengthy students strikes in Montreal over the past few months. These have been large, and largely peaceful, demonstrations to uphold the principle of public higher education as a social good.
Montreal police have responded with very heavy-handed tactics, and most recently, the National Assembly (the provincial legislature) passed Bill 78:
Under Bill 78, an organizer of a demonstration of at least 50 people must submit in advance to police the itinerary, date and time of the event. Article 29 stipulates that anyone who helps or encourages someone to violate the law is also committing an infraction and could be fined.
Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/...
I'm getting a little tired of turning on the radio, TV and computer, and hearing about the latest "wedge" issue: contraception. Somehow, unfathomably, the media is giving uptake to the very Catholic bishops who deplore abortion, and their claim that giving someone the option of securing birth control is a violation of religious freedom.
The logic (sic) of the outcry is impeccable. The plan makes a whole host of drugs available, but nobody seems worried that it's going to force people onto narcotics--or Viagra.
It's strange. Some churches oppose any kind of medical intervention, but I don't see the media giving them a lot of space to talk about how their rights are being violated if their insurance provides the option of surgical care. Why not? Shouldn't we give uptake to their prejudice about what constitutes health and medicine? About what medical procedures women should, and should not, be allowed to procure with their employee health insurance?
The only reason this is getting uptake as a "wedge" issue is because of ratings. The never-ending circus of the GOP nomination reality show needs a new plot twist every week. Too bad if this one is playing with women's health, families and liberty. It sells.
You have to hand it to the Party of No. They think they've got the American people all taped out. How do you block the Senate's payroll tax cut compromise in the House without looking like the Grinch? You wait until the Senate, having done its job by producing a strong, bipartisan compromise bill, leaves Washington. Then tell the world you plan to stay in Washington for the holidays.
Look at our sacrifice! Yes, it's true. We're missing Christmas dinner just so's to block tax relief for working families.
According to House Republican sources, their strategy is to generate as much news coverage as possible of their appointed conferees in coming days to keep the pressure on Democrats to negotiate.
"We are going to try to remind people that we are still in town ready to work," said one House GOP leadership aide.
One of the House negotiators, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan, told CNN that he has already notified his wife that he will be in Washington for Christmas.
Genius. Hold your own family hostage because you can't back down and support the Senate's strong, bipartisan consensus bill.
Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack said he thought the vote “had a lot more to do with getting out of Washington and going back home and spending time with our loved ones – which we would all love to do, but the fact is, we’ve got work to do.”
Now that's what I call "Family Values."
Is it just me, or am I not hearing a clamoring of "loved ones" eager to get those GOP reps back home?
I'm not a huge fan of Tom Friedman, dating back to his columns that gave Bush cover at the start of the Iraq invasion, but he's always been a strong advocate of green energy. Today's column highlights Gov. Perry's obtuse dismissal of global warming as Texas burns.
Thanks Mr. Perry and Mrs. Bachmann, but we really are all stocked up on crazy right now. I mean, here is the Texas governor rejecting the science of climate change while his own state is on fire — after the worst droughts on record have propelled wildfires to devour an area the size of Connecticut. As a statement by the Texas Forest Service said last week: “No one on the face of this earth has ever fought fires in these extreme conditions.”
Remember the first rule of global warming. The way it unfolds is really “global weirding.” The weather gets weird: the hots get hotter; the wets wetter; and the dries get drier.
The man is running for president. Let's make sure that the drought in Texas and the raging wildfires remain part of the conversation. But it's noteworthy that Friedman also takes the president to task for failing to support green energy and jobs.
Katrina vandel Heuvel has posted a terrific blog today that sums up the frustration with the administration's economic policy, and charts a bold new course for action and activism.
There is no question that our circumstances qualify as extraordinary and demand a laserlike focus by the president on job creation. At the pace of job growth we’ve seen over the past three months, we will never, not ever, reach normal levels of employment in America again. We know now that only 58 percent of American adults are employed, the lowest number in nearly three decades. We know that, as of last month, 6.2 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months. Forty-six million Americans are on food stamps, a national record.
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes a persuasive op-ed in today's New York Times about the president's recent characterization of the Left as having unrealistic expectations. Apparently President Obama has suggested, recently, that today's Left would have been dissatisfied even with the Emancipation Proclamation that President Lincoln issued during the Civil War.
On the contrary, Coates argues: the Left forced President Lincoln's hand. He would never have signed the Proclamation without "the work of abolitionists and radicals whose tactics, encompassing jailbreaks, treason and shootouts, far outstripped anything ever concocted by MoveOn.org."
It's also worth mentioning the activism of those who were enslaved, which was even more important; their mass migration from the plantations to union lines, which W.E.B. Du Bois characterized as a "general strike," effectively ground southern production to a halt in many areas. More, the visible presence of self-liberated former slaves behind union lines forced rank-and-file soldiers, their superior officers, and finally the union army's leadership, to recommend that the president consider emancipation in such areas. As Eric Foner has noted, pressure trickled up to the president.
It's a lesson worth heeding, because we've become very accustomed to expecting the president to act without pressure from the grassroots. Because we voted for him in 2008. And that's just wishful thinking.
So I go away on vacation, and return to find that one major party has gone on strike. Call it the Red Flue. They don't want to govern, and they don't want to let anyone else do it either. If anyone ever doubted that "Just Say No" is now the official party line for the GOP, they should now be convinced.
What remains hard to decide, though, is whether the GOP members on federal payroll are cowardly, craven or merely cynical. But there's no doubt that are unfit for their roles as legislators.
Can they be recalled?
As Gail Collins writes, in today's column "Behind the Abortion Wars," GOP leaders just can't seem to bring themselves to talk about contraception when they decry the evils of abortion.
This is important because it speaks to a disconnect in the entire debate we’ve been having about women and reproduction. For eons now, people have been wondering why the two sides can’t just join hands and agree to work together to reduce the number of abortions by expanding the availability of family-planning services and contraception.
The answer is that a large part of the anti-abortion community is also anti-contraception.
Over the past three decades, anti-choice activists have succeeded in pushing back the moment that life begins to the point of conception, and rally to defend the fertlized egg. What I don't understand is why anyone thinks they're likely to stop there.
There's been quite a bit of talk on this and other Progressive sites about Wisconsin and Maine, but I haven't heard much about Ohio here.
I wonder why?
As someone who lived in Cleveland for several years, the recent bill feels personal to me. Under its provisions, public employees can no longer bargain over health care, pensions, and sick days. It moves from automatic cost-of-living raises to merit pay. Even firefighters and police officers are subject to the new bargaining limits.
As AP reports:
Unlike Wisconsin's high-profile effort to limit collective bargaining rights for public workers, Ohio's includes police and firefighters — who say it threatens the safety of officers and the people they protect.
Opponents have vowed to put the issue on the November ballot, giving voters a chance to strike the law down. The firefighters' union in Cleveland plans to hit the streets and help gather signatures.
To do that, the bill's opponents need 231,000 signatures in 90 days--by July 1.