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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 45,158

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Teachers should focus on lessons, not firearms

In the aftermath of recent school shootings, some have questioned whether teachers in schools should be armed.


Most police chiefs and sheriffs disagree with arming teachers, and as the experts in lethal force, they have valid reasons for doing so. Police officers, who must qualify at a pistol range on a regular basis, still hit their human targets only about 17 percent of the time, a nationwide statistic that does not vary much from year to year.

I believe I am one of only a few college professors who have shot another human being. As a narcotics agent with the California Department of Justice in my previous life, I had the occasion to shoot a suspect who was trying to kill my partner and me. The suspect missed — I did not. I later taught handgun training at a pistol range, and despite my 21 years of law enforcement and my so-called expertise with handguns, I still do not want to carry a gun as a professor.

What pro-gun advocates fail to consider is the role of mindset — the kind of mindset that is required for one to be proficient with a weapon. As an on-duty cop, I was able to fire my weapon almost without thinking. My actions were a result of years of training and a state of mind that put me on alert. That mindset is not the mindset of a teacher and never should be.

We ask our children’s educators to enrich their minds and help them find their way in the world. I, for one, think that doing that job well requires a mindset of a very different focus. My own experiences as a cop convince me that most Americans prefer to give teachers the freedom to teach — without their having to worry about being ready to kill.


Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists To Graduate High School

Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists To Graduate High School
January 25, 2013 By Hemant Mehta

A group of Arizona politicians — all Republicans, of course — have proposed a law (House Bill 2467) requiring public high school students to recite the following oath in order to graduate:

I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.

To quote Comedy Central’s Ilya Gerner: “Nothing says ‘I take this obligation freely’ quite like a state law that withholds your diploma unless you swear an oath.”
Kevin Bondelli adds:

… graduating high school is not the same thing as voluntarily accepting the responsibility of a public office or admission to the legal bar. A high school diploma is, with extremely few exceptions, required to have a chance to live above the poverty level. It is the culmination of an education that up until that point was compulsory.

It’s bad enough the Republicans are demanding loyalty of the kind normally reserved for members of Congress and beyond — but there’s also no way I would say those last four words, and the current text of the legislation does not allow for any alternatives.

In other words, if this bill were to become a law, atheists would either not be allowed to graduate… or they would be forced to lie so they could graduate. Neither option is acceptable.


TAIBBI: GOP Worst Week Ever: Like Watching 3 Stooges Perform Liver Transplant On Roller Skates

Conservatives Have Their Worst Week Ever
By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
24 January 12

Watching America's political conservatives try to counter-maneuver opposite Barack Obama's re-inauguration over the course of the last week has been an incredible comedy - like watching the Three Stooges try to perform a liver transplant on roller skates.


But after Sandy Hook, the Democrats have skillfully painted the Republicans as the party of scary-looking and scary-sounding white maniacs like Tennessee security-company CEO James Yeager, a shaven-headed, soul-patched anger-sick white loony who posted a video promising to go ape if gun laws are enacted. "If this goes one inch further, I'm going to start killing people," Yeager said.

Conservatives could have dealt with this post-Sandy Hook political curveball in a number of ways, from simply shutting up and working quietly behind the scenes to scuttle gun control efforts (that always worked before) to announcing willingness to engage in some extremely mild compromise (like maybe prohibiting schizophrenics from carrying machine guns near kindergartens).

Instead, they decided to piss all over Martin Luther King Day and then shoot themselves by the half-dozen in the process.



Horsey: Filibusted

Harry Reid waved the white flag and surrendered on Senate reformers attempt to make the body less dysfunctional. In what was a massive disappointment, especially after much macho talk about how this time was really going to be different, Reid once again agreed to a package of very modest reforms signed off on by McConnell. This is exactly what he did 2 years ago, and within days things were moving just as slowly as before. In these dysfunctional days of our government’s impairment, I think some Senators have decided they would rather have the power to block things rather than accomplish anything positive. That is a very bad sign for our democracy - and a very bad deal.


FOX Loses Star Reporter

Palin's gone from Fox News. I'm reminded of that two year or so period when Politico was basically Sarah Palin Daily. And reporting was basically about what she would put on Facebook. Journalism!


Barbie, Closet Activist?

“Escape from Tomorrow” is, essentially, a commentary on a shared social phenomenon, namely the supposed bliss of an American family’s day at Disney World. In Moore’s version, the day is a frightening and surreal mess that destroys the family forever. The film isn’t so much a criticism of Disney World itself but of the unattainable family perfection promised by a day spent at the park.

New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other news organizations have speculated that “Escape from Tomorrow” must violate Disney’s rights and that its lawyers will seek to have the film enjoined. At the Sundance Film Festival, where the film premièred this week, Moore was onstage answering questions when someone in the audience asked, roughly, “Why did you put so much work into a film that violates so many laws?”


A famous case over the artist Thomas Forsythe’s “Food Chain Barbie” series is similar to this one. In the late nineteen-nineties, Forsythe created a line of artistic photographs of Barbie under attack by various vintage appliances. According to Forsythe, he wanted to “critique the objectification of women associated with , and to lambast the conventional beauty myth and the societal acceptance of women as objects because this is what Barbie embodies.” His work made just thirty-seven hundred dollars, but Mattel sued for both copyright and trademark infringements. The courts threw out the complaints under a fair use and First Amendment rationale. The judges were so annoyed by the lawsuits that they awarded attorney’s fees of nearly two million dollars to the artist.

The similarities with “Food Chain Barbie” are obvious. Both make use of an American icon with associated social ideals (perfect womanhood, in Barbie’s case). Both use art to comment on or criticize that social meaning. In neither case is the commentary the only purpose of the art work, but it doesn’t need to be. Ultimately, both “Food Chain Barbie” and “Escape from the Future” are legitimate art projects, and it is a serious thing for judges to place prior restraints on cultural output. This is not a case about counterfeit Mickey Mouse watches or bootlegged “Toy Story” DVDs. Disney is free to stop that sort of thing all it likes. But a judge has to think about the First Amendment when asked to ban art work.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/01/escape-from-tomorrow-disney-world-and-the-law-of-fair-use.html#ixzz2J0rRM4e7

Senate Dems Abdicated Their Duty

Senate Dems Abdicated Their Duty
by BooMan
Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 01:01:48 PM EST

It's quite possible that Harry Reid didn't have the votes in his own caucus to really weaken the filibuster, but he raised expectations too high and came off looking like a chump who won't stand up for himself. I hope Sen. Tom Harkin is wrong, but I fear that he is not:
The deal preserves the concept of the modern Senate as a body in which 60 votes are required to get most things done, which has drawn the ire of liberals, such as Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, and a host of outside groups. Harkin predicted President Barack Obama’s agenda will suffer as a result of the deal.

“I said to President Obama back in August ... and the night before the election, ‘If you get re-elected and we don’t do something significant about filibuster reform, you might as well take a four-year vacation,” Harkin said.

The deal Harry Reid struck with Mitch McConnell was not significant. It was a lost opportunity that did not take into consideration Mitch McConnell's precarious reelection prospects and desire to avoid a primary from his right. It forecloses the one hope we had to advance legislation through the Senate and force the House to respond. It was an abdication of duty. And the only hope left now is that Obama can change the political landscape somehow, either through his Organizing for Action group, or through some fortuitous and yet unforeseen events.


So, Obama has no House, no Senate,
I guess He REALLY needs us NOW!

peace, kp

Another American Patriot With Guns: 'Ex-Marine' With 'Right-Wing' Manifesto Built Bombs for Cocaine,

'Ex-Marine' With 'Right-Wing' Manifesto Built Bombs for Cocaine, Hoarded Assault Weapons

A Colorado man, who said that he was an ex-Marine and claimed a "right-wing declaration of independence/constitutionalist political manifesto," built improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to trade for cocaine and hoarded several military-style assault weapons that may have been converted to machine guns, the Department of Justice said on Thursday.

According to an affidavit, federal agents with the Bureau of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) raided the home of Richard Lawrence Sandberg in Jefferson County on Thursday after he provided an undercover agent with homemade bombs.

After receiving a tip from a Denver Police Department detective, ATF Special Agent Shane Abraham contacted Sandberg and told him he needed an explosive device to protect a building. Sandberg, who claimed to be "former Special Ops Recon SS Marine Corps," allegedly said that he was in possession of "incendiary" or "napalm" explosives, but the devices were wrong for the job. The suspect then recommended a "frag" -- or fragmentation device -- and suggested that he could provide something that was also waterproof.

Sandberg claimed that the kill zone for his "frags" was 20-meters and the hurt zone was 60-meters, the affidavit said. He called his IEDs "homemade shit" that were built with materials from Home Depot and were "life or death." The suspect said that he also had 18 military-grade M67 fragmentation hand grenades, but would only sell five.

More plus video:

Obama likely to name Wal-Mart Foundation head as budget director

Source: The Hill

Obama likely to name Wal-Mart Foundation head as budget director
By Erik Wasson - 01/25/13 11:01 AM ET

President Obama is likely to announce soon that Sylvia Mathews Burwell will be his next budget director, sources said Friday.

Burwell is a veteran of the Clinton administration, where she served as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. She is a close associate of former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and outgoing White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, who is Obama’s pick to be Treasury secretary.

Acting Budget Director Jeff Zients would either return to his previous role as the deputy OMB director overseeing the management of the government or assume a new role, should Burwell get the nod. His name has been mentioned as a possible replacement for U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, who leaves next month. Zients took over the budget role after Lew left OMB to become chief of staff last year.

A key consideration in the Burwell pick might be her gender, given the number of white males Obama has tapped for Cabinet posts in recent week.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/279311-obama-likely-to-tap-burwell-to-be-budget-director

on Bangs

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