|It might surprise you to hear this, but right-wing Republicans actually agree with President Obama that America needs a radical change in our gun laws. It’s just that they have a different idea of what those changes should be.
In the Montana Legislature this month, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy and a scourge of national gun violence, Montana Republicans have moved quickly to introduce a series of bills to deal with what they believe is society’s most pressing gun problem: it’s not easy enough to shoot someone.
There are dozens of proposals, each one stupider and sillier and more childish than the next. Here are few of my favorites:
First is a bill to change our concealed weapons laws. In Montana, concealed weapons may not be carried in churches, schools, banks, bars, colleges, hospitals and a few other specified areas. Republicans have proposed a bill to eliminate these restrictions completely.
The author of the bill, House Bill 304, is none other than the state chair of the House Judiciary Committee. A police officer showed up to a hearing to testify against it, saying he’d “never seen a bar fight that ended well with a concealed weapon.” The Republicans were unfazed by this testimony and are moving forward with the legislation. There’s also a companion bill, House Bill 384, that specifically addresses the injustice suffered by high school students who are denied the right to bring rifles and shotguns onto school grounds. The bill would forbid school officials from punishing such students.
Keep in mind that these are the same lawmakers who proposed Senate Bill 279 which was a bill to allow legislators to carry guns–both concealed and open–in the state capitol building last session. Apparently they think that this will make the capitol a safer place. I’m sure the many government employees who work in the Capitol will feel secure in knowing that a few crusty old Republican men—who start drinking at 10 am and spend the rest of the day snoozing at hearings or ogling high school pages—will serve as a security force in the event the building is attacked.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008—Past Time to End Embargo on Cuba:
|A year and a half ago, the announcement that most observers expected to hear any day from Cuba was that Fidel Castro, the island’s long-ruling communist caudillo, was dead from the gastro-intestinal problems that had transformed him from an elderly but vigorous leader into a wraith and forced him to temporarily transfer authority to his brother. Instead, he has done what some said he would never willingly do: resigned. The exact parameters of his health status remain unknown, as does knowledge regarding how much of an eminence grise he may remain in his dotage. One thing for certain, his impact, for good and ill, will not be soon forgotten.
With Castro officially out of the picture for the first time in 49 years, what next is on many minds, in Cuba, in southern Florida where the extensive Cuban exile community has transformed that part of the state nearly as much as Castro transformed the island, and elsewhere, including Washington, where those exiles have had an unbalanced influence on U.S. policy toward Cuba for decades.
What better time for the United States to have a positive impact on the sclerotic regime that runs Cuba by revamping its own sclerotic policies? This it could start by phasing out the 46-year-old embargo that has hurt average Cubans and given Castro a rhetorical cudgel and a mask, one to pummel U.S. policy, the other to conceal the regime’s failures and justify its excesses. No chance of that, it seems. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said Tuesday that he couldn’t "imagine" an end to the U.S. embargo "happening any time soon."
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, we tie guns into (almost) everything. Greg Dworkin talked about the kerfuffle over the lack of press access to the President's round of golf with Tiger Woods, and also some other Very Important Stuff. Like the reemergence of the Simpson-Bowles axis, along with No Labels and Fix the Debt, which, apparently because they wrap themselves in "non-partisanship," are eligible for media-led cheerleading. Also: Panera's union-busting; the craziest gun law ever proposed; lead poisoning at gun ranges; tobacco and anti-smoking groups vs. ACA (and how guns might relate); 3D printing (and guns). Plus guns!