Monday, May 02, 2011
I’m no flag-waver. I don’t get a lump in my throat when the “Star-Spangled Banner” is played, nor do I recite the Pledge of Allegiance. But seeing the jubilant crowds that spontaneously appeared outside the White House, at Ground Zero and other places after the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death, I couldn’t help but be overcome.
We Americans, even those who did not lose a loved one on 9/11, have carried a shared torment with us since that horrific day. And while I believe that will always be so (or at least as long as there are people alive who remember that day), the torment has abated ever so slightly with the news that the mastermind has gotten his. I felt it, and I’ll take it.
This does not end the threat of terrorism in the U.S. and worldwide; in fact, it may stoke more hatred for Americans among some circles. It does not end the liquid restrictions on airplanes. All that crap remains in place. But again, something has definitely changed for the better. I'm going to savor the feeling while I can.
I once again find myself compelled to say “Thank you, Mr. President.” I’d long been convinced that finding bin Laden was no longer part of the mission; from this development and a few specifics President Obama mentioned last night, it’s clear that was not the case.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Months after the deadly Tuscon shootings, President Obama has published an op-ed on our nation’s paltry, ineffectual gun laws in an Arizona newspaper. Better late than never – and with Obama eyeing reelection in 2012 and fearful of the NRA, I was honestly expecting never.
Read the piece, and note his use of terms like "common sense," "reasonable" and "sensible." Could it be he read my apocryphal SOTU address on gun violence and laws? I’m happy to have him or anyone plagiarize it.
Thank you, Mr. President. I may yet vote for you in 2012.
Friday, February 25, 2011
President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address: Exclusive Bonus Material Not Seen in Home Theatres
There is no question the tragic events earlier this month in Tucson deeply affected all Americans, regardless of their political stripes. And again, our thoughts and prayers go out to Rep. Gabby Giffords and her family, as well as the other victims of this senseless act and their loved ones.
Respectful applause from the chamber
As I stand here tonight, no less than 11 peace officers have been shot in five states in the last 24 hours alone, two of them fatally.
It is long past time for us in Washington, DC to drop our partisan differences and work together to tackle the growing problem of gun violence in this country.
Tentative applause, primarily from the Democratic side of the chamber
We’ll undertake this critical task using the single tool we have at our disposal – carefully considered and crafted legislation.
A smattering of halfhearted applause, primarily from the Democratic side of the chamber
Now, there are those who will say that we already have too many gun laws in the United States. Well, I’m here to tell you, most Americans, including many gun control advocates, would gladly trade quantity for a handful of sensible, effective ones.
Slightly warmer applause, almost exclusively from the Democratic side of the chamber
Some say that strengthening gun laws is a slippery slope that will lead to the loss of a fundamental freedom guaranteed by the Constitution, and that responsible, law-abiding gun owners will be penalized.
Let me be clear: No one is advocating a repeal of the Second Amendment, or anything close to that sweeping in scope. But what many of us know must take place is constructive, civil dialogue followed by urgent action on the issue of common sense gun laws, which has long been considered a taboo topic in these halls.
A small amount of applause from the gallery
Certainly, all reasonable people can agree that firearms do not belong in the hands of convicted felons and the mentally ill.
More halfhearted applause, primarily from the Democratic side of the chamber
Further, that the so-called “gun show loophole” should be closed now, and permanently, to keep such individuals from easily obtaining guns.
Automatic and semiautomatic weapons, as well as high-capacity magazines such as those used in Tucson, pose an unacceptable risk in private hands, and should be restricted to law enforcement and the military.
And not even the most ardent sportsman has a need for armor-piercing bullets. Truth be told, no responsible civilian party does.
More halfhearted applause, primarily from the Democratic side of the chamber
In the coming days I will be unveiling a common sense legislative proposal that addresses these very issues exclusively. Each lawmaker in this chamber will also hear from me personally and directly so that I may address the concerns they will no doubt have regarding this bill.
And, of course, I welcome constructive input directly from the states as well.
Again, this is not part of any plan to roll back Second Amendment protections. Despite what the pundits may suggest, I am no fan of government overreach.
Scant applause and dubious, muffled laughter, primarily from the Republicant side of the chamber
I look forward to working with Congress to fashion federal legislation that gives both individuals and individual rights the protection they deserve.
Polite applause, primarily from the Democratic side of the chamber
Obama quickly segues to next topic
Monday, February 07, 2011
The tragic January 8 Tucson shootings that killed six and injured 14, carried out by a madman wielding a semi-automatic pistol with a 33-round magazine he bought legally, are now fading from the news cycle. Americans have a short memory for such tragedies; perhaps because they happen all too often, and we've grown to expect them.
Mr. President, please show some courage in the face of a powerful Second Amendment fetishist lobby and address the problem of gun violence to the nation using unambiguous, forceful language. Now. Then follow it up with action.
UPDATE: As always, The Onion comes through with the definitive word on any subject.
Monday, December 20, 2010
The Senate has voted to overturn the U.S. military's 17-year-long "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy, which forbade gay servicemembers from being open about their sexual orientation – under penalty of dismissal. Which saves me from having to write the "It's Time to Use Guerilla Tactics on the Bigoted Apes in Congress" post I had planned.
But here are some of the highlights just in case anyone's interested:
Get gay-straight alliances (the ones that have been allowed to exist, that is) in high schools to organize a "Just Say 'No' to Military Recruiters" campaign. When students are approached or called by recruiters, they would say they won't join any organization that discriminates against people.
In addition to the obvious tactics (slamming the phone lines and email in-boxes of DADT opponents in Congress), registering domain names such as JohnMcCainIsaBigot.com and JohnBoehnerIsaBigot.com, for examples, and launch sites that explain exactly why these lawmakers are no different than those who opposed a racially integrated military and will look just as bad in the history books.
Alas, none of this is necessary. Good job, Congress. It's been way too long since I've been able to say that.
Happy holidays to all.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
The GOP (Greedy Old Pricks) have delivered on their promise to block an extension of tax cuts that would benefit most Americans because the wealthiest few – Republicants’ primary benefactors – aren’t included. (It should also be noted that many Senate Republicants themselves would be directly affected, given their own high economic stature.)
I’ve long considered Republicants the party of greed (and xenophobia), and they’ve confirmed their motivation by choosing to obstruct all legislation until the über-rich become a little richer.
How exactly will giving a few dollars back to people who already have plenty help the economy? More important: Will you ever give a shit about the "little" guy? Please do be specific.
Merry Christmas, motherfuckers!
Monday, November 29, 2010
In a recent interview with Larry King, George H.W. Bush said Mitt Romney would make “a very good president.” Curious, as during the 1992 presidential campaign and beyond Bush 41 & Co. made much of Bill Clinton’s Vietnam War-era military service deferment, labeling him a “draft dodger.” Mitt Romney also received a deferment – ostensibly for Mormon missionary work.
A “draft dodger” was someone who got called up but fled to Canada (and also someone I admire, for the record) instead of reporting for duty. In a blatant act of political opportunism, in 1992 Republicants and other consternatives broadened the definition to include anyone who was eligible to serve during that time but didn’t.
By that definition, Mitt Romney is a “draft dodger.” (As are Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove, for that matter.)
Perhaps time (or a faulty memory) has softened Bush’s view on cowardly, un-American “draft dodgers.” Or maybe it’s the same old political bullshit (way redundant, I admit it) that you hold your adversaries to high standards, but not your own people, and bank on no one recognizing your hypocrisy? My memory is not that short, Mr. Former President.