Thursday, December 20, 2012

(Missing the) Point - Counterpoint: Gun Restriction Laws

James Wigderson decides to join in the debate about whether there should be new gun laws in order to prevent further horrors like the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 innocent people, 20 of them very young children, were slain by a mad man with access to several high powered handguns and an assault rifle.

Not being able to defend the right wing's love of guns, Wigderson settles for attacking a straw man:
None of these bans would have had any effect on the Connecticut school shooting. They would not have prevented the attack on the Sikh temple earlier this year. They would not have prevented the shooting at the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield. The proposed gun control measures would not have prevented any mass shootings, any more than declaring the schools in Connecticut gun-free zones. The worst school massacre in American history was in Bath Township, Michigan in 1927. The killer used bombs, not guns. Timothy McVeigh used a fertilizer bomb in Oklahoma to kill 168 people. The same day as the school shooting in Connecticut, a man stabbed 23 children at a school in China.

We’re a can-do society, and we believe there’s a solution to every problem. But the problem is that there are evil people in this world intent on doing evil things. “Doing something” that is completely ineffective only gives a false sense of security, and we should expect our leaders to know better.
Wigderson is really stretching with his arguments.

He cites a couple of examples of horrendous incidents, but turns a blind eye to the fact that gun deaths are on a pace to exceed traffic fatalities by 2015.

He also cites the man who stabbed 23 children but willfully omits the fact that not one of the children died.

What Wigderson is doing is trying to mislead his readers from the real reason why there is such a push to restrict the proliferation of guns. To counter Wigderson's straw man argument, I would refer the gentle reader to Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now:
Thirty-four have died in Wisconsin from mass shootings since 2004.

Meteor. Brookfield. Delevan. Crandon. Oak Creek. And Brookfield again. Communities scarred, lives lost, survivors inconsolable.

Our national epidemic of gun violence added 26 innocent souls in Newtown. That 20 children could be gunned down in a shattering instant at the hands of one madman, is inconceivable in a nation governed by laws and reason.

And as our nation mourns this latest unspeakable mass gun violence and a call for action roars nationwide to stop these far-too-common acts of mass random violence, the silence has been deafening from those charged with running the state of Wisconsin.

As President Obama has said, laws alone won't eliminate evil. But we can, and must, hold our elected officials accountable and demand action making it harder for evil people to get the weapons of mass murder used in the recent, unfathomable acts of violence perpetrated on worshippers in a temple, mothers at the spa, holiday shoppers in a mall and children and their teachers in their grade school.
No one is arguing that the gun laws will stop evil. No one is arguing that gun laws will prevent all future gun deaths. But there are too many gun deaths now and we don't have to make it as easy or even easier for the country to continue down this path to ruination.

Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." What Wigderson is arguing for is just that, doing nothing. And that's after people like Walker and the Republican legislators actually helped the evil along.

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

A little end of the world apocalypse music to blow up by:



And if it turns out that the ancient Mayans simply forgot to flip the page on their calendar, our regular programming will now resume.

a repug plan so bad even the repugs won't vote for it

Lacking GOP support, Republicans yank ‘fiscal cliff’ ‘Plan B’
 ---
I really wish the repugs would quit their bullshit political posturing, realize that they lost the election (and Obama has to remember that he won), and do something to help the country for a change.

The Blood Center of Wisconsin Needs You!

From my inbox:
The snowstorm that hit much of Wisconsin today is having an impact on blood donations. We anticipate a shortage of more than 1,000 units of blood over the next two days.

The safety of donors is our first priority. We ask those who are able to safely keep their scheduled appointments to please do so. If you are unable to keep your appointment because of the weather, we ask that you call to reschedule for Saturday, Sunday or Monday. Call 1-877-BE-A-HERO or visit .
  • All blood types are needed, but there is a particular need for O Negative blood and platelets. In order to ensure we can meet the needs of patients, BloodCenter has extended its donor center hours at several locations this Saturday, Dec. 22 for whole blood appointments. BloodCenter staff will be on hand until 3:00 p.m. at the Brown Deer, Greenfield, Racine, Waukesha, Wauwatosa and West Bend locations.
  • Because platelets are critically important, 4 of our locations will be open BY APPOINTMENT this Sunday for platelet donors, including Greenfield, Waukesha, Wauwatosa and West Bend from 6 a.m. - 1 p.m.
The end of the year is already a challenging time for blood collection when people are busier than usual with holiday activities and travel. Combining that with the current weather situation, the need for blood products is real, and we are asking you to seriously consider making a donation as soon as possible.
On behalf of patients and their loved ones, thank you very much.
My appointment to donate platelets is Friday afternoon, now go make your appointment now.

NO! IT'S MERRY CHRISTMAS

Grandpère and I received a Christmas ecard with the following message:
"First Christmas is not Happy Holidays.  It is Merry Christmas."

Alrighty.

Blah, blah, blah...accompanied by Christmas carols.

"So when someone says Happy Holidays, correct them by saying NO.  It's Merry Christmas."
The ecard is didactic from the first words.  Then the words that follow, complete with Scripture references, give a "historical" account of the  birth of Jesus.  So, if a person should happen to make a friendly gesture and wish us "Happy Holidays",  we are to say "NO" and correct them...all in the spirit of the season of peace and good will.  Nevermind the good wishes; give that person a lesson.

The final scene is a PC Santa Claus wishing us a proper Merry Christmas.

Christmas Caption

From Facebook and our friend Keith Gilkes: 

You know the good friend of Scott Walkers, who was advising anyone and everyone to destroy any evidence that would make Scott Walker look bad after the O'Donnell Park Accident. 

Remember that when Gilkes was Walker's Chief of Staff, he had lobbyists contacting him via his consultancy group's email address instead of through official channels. It would seem that there were trying to circumvent the open records laws in order to put the strong arm on people and companies wanting things from the Governor, such as Gogebic Taconite.

Gilkes also went on with the claim that the large amount of contact between the campaign and the county staff was just routine type of stuff.

For some reason, I don't see the advocacy of destruction of legal documents as being routine:

Gilkes, in an email written the day of the accident, advised Walker's county staff to "make sure there is not a piece of paper anywhere that details any problem at all." News organizations and lawyers representing victims and others filed numerous open record requests after the O'Donnell Park accident for inspection reports and other documents on its construction.
Then again, maybe destruction of documents is normal...for Republicans. I wonder how much they spend on paper shredders each year.

It should be noted that Gilkes was recently engaged, so that might give him some incentive to stay out of prison.

The same  Keith Gilkes who recently walked out of a press conference so he did not have to incriminate himself!    


Sorry Keith you have not been very good this, and Santa has been watching!   

Now that we know who our friend Keith Gilkes is - Caption Away!


Peace, Love and Joy to all - unless you have documents that make Scott Walker look bad then destroy them!   

Stupidity on Display

New Rule - if you have as a role model Steven Crowder or James O'Keefe, you are a threat to society!

2 people are vying for dumb ass of the day, and one just happens to be in Beloit, WI

The first incident is in Virginia:


A man was arrested at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Strasburg, Va., Wednesday, according to the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office.
Christopher Garret Johnson, 33, walked into the school with a 4-foot long two-by-four labeled “High Powered Rifle” about 11:40 a.m., the sheriff’s office said.
He was met by school staff, then detained by a sheriff’s school resource officer. He was arrested and taken into custody without incident.
No one was injured.
The man was apparently trying to make a point about security at the school five days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which a man shot and killed 20 children and six adults before killing himself.
"He made general statements about school safety and safety awareness," a Shenandoah County officer said. "But the reality was, it was disruptive."

The second comes courtesy of Beloit, WI:

 BELOIT, Wis. -
Beloit police arrested a man who posed as an intruder trying to enter a Beloit elementary school Tuesday, the Beloit School District said.
In the wake of the Connecticut mass shooting, a local citizen decided to test school security by trying to enter a side entrance at Converse Elementary School at 1602 Townline Ave., according to a Beloit School District news release.
Building doors are locked at all Beloit School District buildings, including front entrances, which are monitored, according to school officials.
A teacher at the scene reported seeing a camouflage-garbed man at a side entrance of the primary school (grades K-3) who was trying to forcibly open the doors, according to the news release.

If you pose as an intruder  - YOU ARE AN INTRUDER!   I hope these idiots get arrested and if you want to know who should NOT own guns - here are two prime examples!  

Look what Fox news has wrought on our country!




AND THE SHOOTINGS GO ON

The fatal shooting of a man in the St. Claude neighborhood Tuesday morning continued a four-day stretch of violence that has left five people dead in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, and several others wounded.

Five people dead in four days.  The local murders do not often make the national news, but they demand attention.  Clearly we must change our laws and our ways.

The names:

Nathan Johnson, 36
Devanta Thomas, 18
Joseph Wilfred, 56
Lawrence Burt, 18
Vivian Snyder, 56 
In addition to the homicides, New Orleans police are investigating several non-fatal shootings, including a robbery at a popular Uptown eatery that included gun play. Police were called out to “Dat Dog” restaurant in the 5000 block of Freret Street on Monday after an employee was shot in the arm during a robbery.
....

Police are also investigating a shooting near the intersection of North Claiborne Street and Iberville Streets that damaged a school bus. That incident occurred at about 4:37 p.m. The victim told police he was walking home from work when an unknown vehicle approached him and someone began shooting.

The victim was shot four times in the back and legs. A school bus carrying students from an Algiers high school was caught in the crossfire and had a window shattered. One child was hit by flying glass, but no serious injuries were reported.
Though New Orleans is the murder capitol of the country, killings by guns take place all over the land, and we pay little attention unless there is mass murder, and we, as a country, seem to accept this is how we must live.  As I've already said, the estimate of the number of firearms in the country is around 300 million, nearly one for each man, woman, and child in the country.  Will the guns at large be grandfathered in any gun legislation that passes?  That is if any sort of firearms legislation with teeth is enacted...legislation without loopholes large enough to shoot a cannonball through.

Even now, there is a sharp spike in the sale of guns, as there was when the president was first elected and when he was reelected, because, "Obama's gonna ban guns or take away all our guns."  What?  Do these folks plan a stand-off if or when the government comes to take away their guns?  And (Lord help us!) sales of armored backpacks for children are increasing.
The reaction to the Connecticut school shooting can be seen in gun stores and self-defense retailers across the nation: Anxious parents are fuelling sales of armoured backpacks for children while firearms enthusiasts are stocking up on assault rifles in anticipation of tighter gun-control measures.

So.  Will we have firearms legislation with teeth enacted any time soon?  I am not feeling optimistic, but those of us who think we can do better as a people to restore a measure of safety from gun violence should do all we can to pressure our legislators and the president to act.  However, a word of caution: We should not burden the president and Congress with responsibility to do the impossible...say to ban all firearms.  That will not happen.  We must urge action for the best laws possible now and hope to build on the laws later.  We must ban assault weapons and magazines that hold multiple rounds of bullets, and we must have better laws and law enforcement on background checks and better controls on the sale of guns.  Assault weapons are so-named for a reason; they are not defense weapons.  Nor are assault weapons for the purpose of hunting.  Any hunter who needs an assault weapon to kill game is one sorry-ass hunter.

UPDATE: I left out the link to another shooting in Florida:
ST. PETERSBURG — Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law has been cited in hundreds of cases. People have used it to justify shooting, stabbing, killing and maiming would-be intruders, romantic competitors and rival gang members.

And on Sunday, at a pizza joint in St. Petersburg, a man tried to use it as justification for shooting another customer who was yelling at workers because he wasn't getting his order fast enough.
Note: Post edited to correct information about The Globe and Mail.

O CLAVIS DAVID



Antiphon sung by the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars in Oxford.

December 20
O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel,
that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth,
come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
Isaiah 22:22
I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David;
he shall open, and no one shall shut;
he shall shut, and no one shall open.
Text of antiphon from Fish Eaters.
Prayer for Mission

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Reposted from last year, and the year before and....  The O Antiphons are now a tradition at Wounded Bird.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

From Hero to Zero In Six Weeks Flat

As President Barack Obama and the Orange Man try to out-austerity each other - I think they're arguing whether Grandma gets the deluxe cat food or just the generic brand - there is one person notable in the whole situation by his absence: Paul Ryan.

One would think that this is where Ryan would be having a field day, doing his tired out song and dance about how the country will burst into flames, dogs will sleep with cats, the earth will be sent crashing into the sun, Charlie Sykes will be honest about something and all other signs of the apocalypse if we don't hurry up and sacrifice enough senior citizens and working class folks on the altar of the Almighty Dollar right away.

But instead, there is no sign of Ryan anywhere.

It's hard to believe, but just six weeks ago, Ryan was the darling of the Teapublicans.  Republican women, and more than some Republican men, would swoon over his Basset Hound eyes as the Adonis of Austerity explained that the only way we could save the country was to give it all to the nice, rich business tycoons who own most of it any way.

But now that he and Mitt Romney helped torch the Teapublican party across the nation, the Teabpublicans have put him away under lock and key in an undisclosed location, like they would with an embarrassing uncle.  They are aware that Ryan's continued presence would have kept the ardor and passion of the progressives at high levels and would have not allowed Obama to succumb to stepping on the third rail.

It must be quite the blow to Ryan's massive ego to realize that the best way for him to help his party is by not being there.  Oh well, at least he'll still have radio squawkers and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to swoon all over him even when he doesn't do anything.

Or maybe, just maybe, Ryans's continued AWOL status is more because had no one has seen fit to let him know he could stop washing those clean dishes.

Solidarity Fish Fry, Week 11 - Treat A Palermo Worker To A Fish Fry

I am sure that after ten weeks of successful Solidarity Fish Fries, the gentle eater knows what we are doing and why we are doing it.

For week eleven, which is this Friday, December 21, we are doubling down on our solidarity by treating some of the Palermo workers to a fish fry.  This way we can help two unions at the same time.  Talk about union efficiency!

But to make this a complete success, we need your help.

We have already had a great show of support for both the Palermo workers, who want to exercise their rights, as well as our brave sisters and brothers at Serb Hall, who are fighting to keep their rights against the union busting management.

But we still need some more help.  Please give what you can, whether it is $25, $10 or whatever you can afford.

And as a reminder to any blogger and/or media types, there will be a translator available so that you can speak to the workers about their plight as well as their stance of solidarity with the workers at Serb Hall.

The union waitresses this week will be Victoria and Sandra.  Ask to be seated at one of their tables and make sure you leave a good tip.

And be sure to tell them that Cog Dis sent ya.

END OF THE WORLD?

So real people truly think the world will end Friday? Why not Saturday? Or tomorrow? What if Mayans miscalculated by a day or so? Or a year or so? After all, the prediction was made a long time ago before computers and calculators were invented. What if Mayans themselves don't believe the world will end?
FELIPE CARRILLO PUERTO, Mexico -- Mayan pilgrims often come here to a simple church with a thatched roof to venerate the "Cruz Parlante," or Speaking Cross, which gave their forefathers guidance during a 19th-century rebellion.

But priest Alfonso Ek says lately he's being asked by curious non-Mayans about something he says has nothing to do with his people or their beliefs: the end of the world.

His response: "The world will not end."
There you have it.

Image from Wikipedia.

BEFORE AND AFTER

BC:AD

This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future's
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.

(U.A. Fanthorpe)

Thanks to Charley F B for sending the poem as a Christmas greeting.

Tim Chesterton posted the video below by Bruce Cockburn, which I like quite a lot, so I'm sharing.

O RADIX JESSE



Antiphon sung by the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars in Oxford.

December 19
O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people,
at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths,
Whom the Gentiles shall seek,
come to deliver us, do not tarry.
Isaiah 11:1, 11:10
A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
....

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.
Text from Fish Eaters.

Reposted from last year, and the year before...as a tradition.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When Our Leaders Fail Us

As the nation weeps with the citizens of Newtown, Connecticut as they bury 20 of their children, there has been a wide range of reactions and statements regarding this senseless nightmare that should never have happened.

By far, most of the statements have been simple expressions of grief and condolences.

But there also has been no shortage of statements that extend beyond that.

From one side, there are calls for reasonable gun laws to be enacted and to be enforced. There are calls for a vamping up of our mental health system. Even has they weep, people are looking for ways to keep anything like this from ever happening again.

From the other side, there are quick calls to stop making sense and to leave our guns alone (even though almost no one is calling for a complete gun ban). Instead of worrying about their constituents, these people are more worried about losing the support of the NRA and their big buckets of money.

Then there have been the extreme nut jobs that both sides look upon with scorn. People like Westboro Baptist Church, who for some deranged reason thought it a good idea to protest at the funeral of six year old child. Or the goof that thought this happened because they teach evolution and homosexuality in schools. (No, really. That was an argument from more than one person, which is even scarier.)

In Wisconsin, our leaders again prove themselves to be embarrassments.

Scott Walker, true to his nature, would only say what he thought people wanted him to say, even if it meant lying through Charlie Sykes' teeth.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen demeaned any new life-saving laws as something to make lawmakers "feel good about themselves."

Here in Milwaukee, it was even worse.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele took a lot of words to say a whole lot of nothing* (spelling and grammatical errors are all his):
What is perhaps the saddest thing to see in the current discussion about gun control is the immediate entrenchment of so many of the loudest in the commentariat to familiar, intractable positions. The most corrosive thing in american politics today is the divisiveness of political identity - too much of defining ourselves by what we are against and not nearly enough defining ourselves by what we are for. Too many declarations of grievances and accusations, not enough statements of understanding and offering of solutions. To borrow from Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, undoubtedly one of the greatest pieces of political address ever: with malice towards none, with charity towards all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind the nations wounds.

To my friends who support the Second Amendment, so do I. To my friends who are horrified at what happened in Newtown (and Oak Creek, Brookfield, Aurora, etc.), I share your horror. To everyone who believes it is no compromise of the rights we all treasure to bind their scope and couple them with accountability, let's embrace the First Amendment to discuss how we can protect the Second while never forgetting the reason our founding fathers instituted them in the Constitution of this government - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Please note that he says nothing about the need for greater mental health services since he's busy in the process of dismantling the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex.

As mealy-mouthed as Abele was, it's Sheriff David Clarke who takes the cake for the worst response. Clarke wrote a rambling, disjointed piece for his teahadist supporters in which he uses just about every red meat term and buzzword he could think of. But unlike Abele, Clarke offers a solution of sorts, even if it is one of the more idiotic ones:
I have a better idea to all this run and hide advice. An armed tactical trained officer or security officer in every school and public place (theaters, malls, etc) in America. How are we going to pay for it? With all the money we spend on “going green projects and other waste of money social service spending we do. And spare me the idea of more gun control. Gun control has never worked and never will. That’s a sheep mentality. It’s like saying lets capture all the wolves and then the sheep will be safe. Yeah right. I’ve had it with these sociopaths slaughtering innocent people who are in no position to defend themselves.
What Clarke is suggesting is a totalitarian police state. Given his rabid mindset, how long do you think it would take the unstable Clarke to start suggesting that anyone who doesn't agree with him be considered a threat to society?

Also keep in mind that Clarke was against concealed carry before he was for it, so that shows you how much weight you should give any of his opinions.

It truly is embarrassing that at the time when we need real leadership, we get milquetoast and buffoonery.  Heck, even the deplorable, maleficent governor of Michigan had enough sense to veto a bill that would have allowed guns in schools.

Is it really asking too much for our leaders to show a modicum of common sense and responsibility?

*Since Abele apparently had this posted it before and then deleted it because of the negative reaction to his non-reaction, I have taken the liberty of making a screen shot of it.

WHEN MY MOTHER DEFIED THE MAFIOSO

As some of you already know, I grew up poor.  My father was an alcoholic who did not work regularly.  My mother had a low-paying clerical job, and were it not for extended family, my mother, sisters, and I very likely could not have stayed afloat.  At some point, when I was around 12 or 13,  we moved in with my maternal grandparents, all five of us, including my father, with whom my grandmother did not get along.  (I can't think why.)  My grandparents came to the conclusion that they would have to help us if we were to have a place to live.  Although they had a large house, the arrangement with all five us living in the same house with my grandparents was not suitable.  My grandparents' solution was to sell their house and buy a duplex.  The two of them lived in the ground floor house, and my family and I lived in the upstairs house.  At least, if my mother could not pay the rent or the full amount, we would not be evicted from our home.

When we first moved in, we did not have a refrigerator, having left the old ice box behind when we moved in with my grandparents, so we took our meals downstairs at their house.  My grandmother cooked wonderful Creole-style meals, and my sweet grandfather fixed us breakfast each morning, which included coffee-milk.  We joined the coffee club at an early age.  Although we slept in different houses, we were downstairs at my grandparents' house a good bit of the time.  I believe we carried my father's meals upstairs to avoid friction.  After a spell, my mother bought a second-hand refrigerator from a man in the neighborhood who was rumored to belong to the Mafia.  He had the largest and fanciest house on the street and used an alias, but his original name was common knowledge.  Apparently, my mother had an agreement to pay for the refrigerator over time, however, she didn't, because she said the fridge was not worth $100, the amount to which she had agreed for the sale.  I remember asking her whether she was afraid to risk not paying what she owed to a member of the Mafia, but she said she was not.  She was convinced the mafioso neighbor had scammed her, and her mantra was, "The refrigerator is not worth $100."  So far as I know, my mother never paid, and the Mafia man didn't press her for the money, nor did he kneecap her or break her knuckles.

The photo shows a 1940s fridge which was similar to "ours".   

ASSHOLERY OF THE DAY - (THE DAY IS NOT OVER)

Megan McArdle says at Newsweek, "There's Little We Can Do to Prevent Another Massacre", but she offers the following suggestion at the end of her article, after she dismisses alternatives.
I'd also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once. Would it work? Would people do it? I have no idea; all I can say is that both these things would be more effective than banning rifles with pistol grips.
Good heavens!  The best solution McArdle can come up with is to train little children and youths to rush shooters with automatic weapons?  The principal and the school psychologist heroically rushed Lanza to try to stop him, and they are now dead.  How does this sort of mad idea rate a forum in what was once a respectable magazine?  At one time, we subscribed, but, years ago, when Newsweek was reduced to about six pages, not counting ads, I told Grandpère, "Enough already."  By then, the sparse content was already pathetic.

H/T to Charles Pierce.

ABOUT RIGHT

 

From someecards.

MY LITTLE TREE

 
little tree 

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little 
you are more like a flower 
who found you in the green forest 
and were you very sorry to come away?
 see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark 
and hug you safe and tight 
just as your mother would, 
only don't be afraid 
look the spangles 
that sleep all the year in a dark box 
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine, 
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads, 
put up your little arms 
and i'll give them all to you to hold 
every finger shall have its ring 
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy 
then when you're quite dressed 
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see 
and how they'll stare! 
oh but you'll be very proud 
and my little sister and i will take hands 
and looking up at our beautiful tree 
we'll dance and sing 
"Noel Noel"

(e.e. cummings)



Obviously, the little tree in the video is not silent.

O ADONAI



Antiphon sung by the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars in Oxford.

December 18

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammæ rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel,
Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush,
and gavest him the law in Sinai,
come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!
Isaiah 11:4-5
But with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
Collect - Third Sunday of Advent
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Text of the antiphon from Fish Eaters.

Beyonce’s Miami Art Basel Emma Cook Silk de Chine Floral Printed Button Down and Shorts

Steal Her Look: Beyoncé's Art Basel Miami Beach Emma Cook Shirt and Shorts,Christian Louboutin 'Pigalle' Pumps and DVF - Diane von Furstenberg 440 Mixed Media Top Handle Bag..She looks absolutely chic.

 



Arm Yourself With Education!

New Rule - Anyone who says that we need to bring guns into our schools, must immediately shut up and wear an I am a dunce hat!

The stupid is EVERYWHERE:

From Texas republican Governor Rick Perry:











To Paul Ryan(R- Hates Santa Claus) mentor and former "education secretary Gamblin Bill Bennett:




To Texas republican Louis Gohmert, to Wisconsin republican Frank Lasee, to Nebraska republican state Sen. Mark Christensen, to the Michigan legislature actually allowing guns in the classroom and the list goes on...

While it is not surprising that these anti - intellectuals are this ignorant, what does surprise me is that they have ever reached positions of power. I guess they do not remember that Columbine had an armed security guard. How did that work out for them?


I have a better idea, why don't we arm our teachers with up to date text books, and technology, and buildings that are not falling down and proper training and respect and smaller class sizes and more support staff, etc... You get the idea!












Abele Tells Joke, Turns Out To Be The Joke

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a humorous anecdote about Milwaukee County Chris Abele:
County Executive Chris Abele joked Monday that the County Board's lobbyists enjoyed a $13,000 party budget, a dig that served to underscore his pique over the board's success in roping off lobbying as their role.

He was pointing to a line in the county's 2013 budget that lists a total of $13,000 for "social" for the county's director and assistant director of intergovernmental affairs.

"I hope I get invited if they do" throw a party, Abele said.

He could be waiting a long time for that.

Turns out the "social" in the budget line refers to the county's portion of Social Security contributions for the lobbyists -- not some party slush fund.
The problem is that it's not really that humorous.

What it is is an expose of two of Abele's major character flaws.

One is that he really doesn't have a clue on how government works. His decisions and his budgets are outsourced to his wealthy friends in the Greater Milwaukee Committee, who's made it very clear that their endgame is to dismantle county government, no matter what it might cost...the taxpayers.

The other issue is that Abele belies himself to be a stereotypical spoiled rich brat that isn't used to be told no. Even though the county budget was set more than a month ago, Abele is still having his temper tantrum over losing on 22 items out of the thousand things that were in the county budget.

But Able is taking his tantrum to another level.

Because he thinks that shrinking the size of the Milwaukee County Board will somehow assist him in his agenda to dismantle Milwaukee County government, he is going to Madison to schmooze up with some legislators in order to get them on board with Assemblyman Elect Joe Sanfelippo's bill taking away local control and shrinking the board via a legislative fiat.

But it's not just any legislators that he is planning on meeting with (emphasis mine):
It was in preparation for the county's $276,000 lobbying operation for 2013 - the board's exclusive province, according to a measure supervisors muscled through last month.

Don't tell that to County Executive Chris Abele. He's stepping up his own state lobbying efforts, including meetings Tuesday in Madison with Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester), who takes over as Assembly speaker next month, and state Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), the newly named co-chairman of the Legislature's powerful Joint Finance Committee.
Note to Abele: You're the MILWAUKEE County Executive, not Racine's nor Marinette's. If you're so smart, and if you're idea is so wonderful, why aren't you talking to the Milwaukee caucus? Isn't Senator Chris Larson, the Senate Minority Leader prestigious enough for you? Or is that he is too smart for you?

Even worse is the two non-Milwaukee County legislators he will be speaking with even as his blows of his own representatives.

One of them, John Nygren, is such a laughable lackey that he couldn't even raise enough legitimate signatures to get his name on the ballot during the failed recall attempt of Senator Dave Hansen.

The other Republican that Abele is visiting is not other than the ethically-challenged Robin Vos. That's the same Vos who is state chairman for ALEC and wants to run his own personal political caucus in his double-decker office, complete with spiral staircase.

It's not surprising that Abele's got low friends in high places. Given his personal wealth, most politicians would fall all over themselves to give him an audience. And given Abele's own personal track record, from trying to frame people to considering the voice and vote of people to be nothing more than a Facebook poll, he'd fit right in with the likes Vos and Nygren. I mean, this is the guy that goes around bragging about how well he gets along with Scott Walker.

Yeah, you know who's side he's on, and it's not the 99%, or even the 47%.

Instead of wasting what precious little political capital he might have in order to satiate his bruised ego's quest for a Pyrrhic victory, maybe he could do something constructive, like trying to get a sales tax that will help everyone and not just his plutocrat friends.

Or he could simply help resolve the real problem with Milwaukee County government.

If nothing else, he could stop trying to tell jokes, and most definitely stop being one.

Yvonne Nelson, Sarkodie, Juliet Ibrahim, Sandra Ankobiah, Majid Michel, Jackie Appiah & Yvonne Okoro spotted at D-Black’s “The Revelation” Album Launch in Accra

The stars were all spotted at the launch of Ghanaian music act, D-Black‘s new album, The Revelation at the Movenpick Hotel, Accra, Ghana.
Jackie Appiah

Yvonne Nelson

D-Black


Sandra Ankobiah & Yvonne Okoro


Monday, December 17, 2012

He Also Knows How To Roll Over And To Say Please

After the horror in Newtown, Connecticut, Scott Walker felt that need to have a buffer between him and the NRA.

So cue in Charlie Sykes, who wrote a fabrication he called "When Scott Walker Stood Up To The NRA." Sykes tried to show what a compassionate man Walker is by refusing to sign a concealed carry gun law that didn't include the requirements of training and getting a permit:
On June 3, 2011, Walker made his decision:

Gov. Scott Walker, who had been silent on the specifics of a bill he would support, issued a statement that formalized his position: "If a concealed carry bill reaches my desk, it should include a permit and training provisions."

The final version of the bill included both provisions.

While the NRA accepted Walker's decision somewhat meekly, some of its allies were more critical:

"I'm definitely disappointed that the governor doesn't take a principled and practical position on this," said Nik Clark, chairman and president of Wisconsin Carry Inc.

"I'm disappointed the governor doesn't look at other states that don't require training or permits and see that they don't have any problems and recognize that there's no reason to have required permits and training here," he said.

But the bottom-line was that Walker defied the NRA's hard line... and politically survived and prospered.
While there is the Sykes/Walker fairy tale, there is also reality.

The "training requirement" was a bad joke.

It could be met by watching a video. For all we know, the state is accepting someone watching four hours of cartoons with Elmer Fudd in them and calling their requirement satisfied.

Even the foreign news media caught on to lapse of judgement, as well as getting a picture of Walker signing the bill with the NRA's chief lobbyist there to give him a big wet smooch campaign donation hearty thank you:
One is to complete a firearms safety course conducted by a certified firearms instructor. Because the law doesn't specify what constitutes a safety course, someone could sit through an online training course - including one that wasn't designed for concealed carry purposes.

For example, a Maryland agency helped put together a 30-minute online video that discusses firearm use, safety rules, and cleaning and maintenance. The free video was created about 10 years ago after the state passed a law mandating that people take a safety class before buying a firearm, said Greg Shipley, a spokesman for the Maryland State Police who appeared in an early version of the video.

He said he'd be surprised if anyone in Wisconsin used the video to satisfy the concealed carry training requirement.

The video's "intent was for individuals in Maryland," he said. "There was no expectation that anyone outside Maryland would be using this to certify themselves."

However, in a chat room for gun enthusiasts, several people shared a link to the Maryland video and said it would satisfy Wisconsin's requirement.
But it doesn't end there. Because with Walker, there is always more. Or in this case, there is less.

Not only did Walker sign off on a law that mocked the thought that training was important, eight days after it went into effect, Walker and cohorts even took that insufficient requirement away, finding it too burdensome:
Lawmakers on Tuesday defended against critics who opposed a legislative panel's decision to remove certain training requirements from recently passed legislation allowing licensed holders to carry concealed weapons.

Act 35, which took effect Nov. 1, included a four-hour training requirement for a concealed carry permit, a rule implemented by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and the state's Department of Justice.

The Joint Administrative Rules Panel voted Monday to remove the rule, along with a requirement that program instructors complete eight hours of training before leading concealed carry courses.
This isn't exactly what I would call standing up to the NRA. It seems more like rolling over and then sitting up and saying please for a weasel treat in the form of a campaign contribution.

But to be fair, Sykes does have a wee grain of salt of truth in his story. There was a time when Walker did stand up to the NRA:



But it was only to give a campaign speech and ask for money.

And the gentle reader should not be surprised by any of this.  Does this really look like a man who understands the first thing about gun safety?


GUTSY GAME WARDEN



Thanks to Doug.

HOPE IN THE GOOD NEWS

Anchor, Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome
I've heard and read many words about the terrible tragedy in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, - many kind and comforting words, along with horrible and ill-conceived responses.  I've hesitated to add more words, thus I've mostly posted prayers and brief tributes to those who died and prayers and sympathy for those who grieve.

Yesterday, I heard a fine sermon preached in my church.  The main message I took away from the sermon is the good news of hope in the midst of tragedy nearly too awful to contemplate.   Since Advent is the season of waiting in great hope for the celebration of the coming of Christ Incarnate as a helpless babe 2000 years ago, I've continued with the traditions of Advent, the season of expectancy and hope, for, at this time, I do not know what else to do.  Words cannot express the depth of my sadness nor my thankfulness for my faith and the prayers and traditions of the Christian community, which anchor my soul to hope in the Good News.

Hebrews 6:19-20
We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.
The time will come for more words and especially for deeds, but not now, not today, not for me.

A Collect for Peace
Most holy God, the source of all good desires, all right judgments, and all just works: Give to us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, so that our minds may be fixed on the doing of your will, and that we, being delivered from the fear of all enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)

O SAPIENTIA



Antiphon sung by the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars in Oxford.

December 17

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High,
that reachest from one end to another,
and orderest all things mightily and sweetly,
come to teach us the way of prudence!

O Sapientia, quæ ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter
suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiæ.
____________________

Isaiah 11:2-3
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
__________________

In the Sarum [Anglican] use, all eight antiphons are used, beginning on December 16 and ending on the 23, leading up to the First Mass of Christmas, the Eve of December 24. In the Roman use, the observance begins on December 17, but only the first seven antiphons are used, and the observance ends, as with the Sarum use, on December 23.
Reposted with slight editing from last year, and the year before, and...and....  The reposts are a Wounded Bird tradition. Though the year is not 2006, the O Antiphons are timeless.

Text of the antiphon from Fish Eaters.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

O ANTIPHONS


The painting is from the massive Ghent altarpiece, "The Adoration of the Lamb" by Hubert and Jan van Eyck at St. Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium. Wiki shows the entire altarpiece, except for the missing parts.
The well-known carol, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” provides just such a passageway linking the old and the new. The carol’s familiar names for Christ are based on the Advent Antiphons—the “Great O’s”—which date back possibly to the sixth century. These antiphons—short devotional texts chanted before and after a psalm or canticle—were sung before and after the Magnificat, the Song of Mary, at Vespers from December 16 through December 23. Each of the antiphons greets the Messiah and ends with a petition of hope. The simple refrain of the carol, “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!” sets the tone for this Advent time of waiting and expectation.
From Hasten the Kingdom: Praying the O Antiphons of Advent by Mary Winifred, C.A. (Liturgical Press, 1996).

Over the next several days, beginning tomorrow, I will post a video of the O Antiphon of the day sung by Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars in Oxford.

Note: Reposted from last year with slight editing. Rather than think of the reposts as due to laziness, please regard them as Wounded Bird traditions. Thank you.


O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Advent carol) Performed by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge Timothy Brown, conductor

THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT - GAUDETE SUNDAY

 
The Bag

Away despair! my gracious Lord doth heare.
Though windes and waves assault my keel,
He doth preserve it: He doth steer,
Ev’n when the boat seems most to reel.
Storms are the triumph of His art:
Well may He close His eyes, but not His heart.

Hast thou not heard, that my Lord Jesus di’d?
Then let me tell thee a strange storie.
The God of power, as He did ride
In His majestic robes of glorie,
Reserv’d to light; and so one day
He did descend, undressing all the way.

The starres His tyre of light and rings obtain’d,
The cloud His bow, the fire His spear,
The sky His azure mantle gain’d.
And when they ask’d, what He would wear;
He smil’d and said as He did go,
He had new clothes a making here below.


(George Herbert - From "The Bag")  
Collect - Third Sunday in Advent
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

THE NAMES OF THOSE WHO DIED

 

The children: Charlotte Bacon, 6, Daniel Barden, 7, Olivia Engel, 6, Josephine Gay, 7, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6, Dylan Hockley, 6, Madeleine F. Hsu, 6, Catherine V. Hubbard, 6, Chase Kowalski, 7, Jesse Lewis, 6, James Mattioli, 6, Grace McDonnell, 7, Emilie Parker, 6, Jack Pinto, 6, Noah Pozner, 6, Caroline Previdi, 6, Jessica Rekos, 6, Avielle Richman, 6, Benjamin Wheeler, 6, Allison N. Wyatt, 6.

The staff: Rachel Davino, 29, Dawn Hochsprung, 47, Anne Marie Murphy, 52, Lauren Rousseau, 30, Mary Sherlach, 56, Victoria Soto, 27.

Nancy Lanza, Adam Lanza
O God, whose beloved Son took children into his arms and blessed them: Give us grace to entrust the children and all those whose lives were taken yesterday in Newtown to your never failing care and love, and bring us all to your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding: Deal graciously with the families of Newtown in their grief. Surround them with your love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

– Book of Common Prayer, p. 494  (The Daily Office)
Names from the New York Times.

H/T to Jim Naughton at The Lead.

"TEARS IN HEAVEN" - ERIC CLAPTON



Eric Clapton lost his four year old son. He knows.

JINDAL'S BUDGET CUTS PROGRAMS FOR THE MOST FRAGILE

Bobby Jindal, governor of the State of Louisiana, who lusts for a role in national politics, discovered (Oops!) another hole in the state budget. Oh! What to do?  Here's Bobby's list of programs which will be cut:
Among the deepest cuts were at the state Department of Health and Hospitals and the state Department of Children and Family Services.

Doctors, hospitals, mentally ill patients, pregnant women and dying patients will be affected by the state’s financial problems.

State Sen. Sharon Broome, D-Baton Rouge, complained that the reductions affect departments that deal with the state’s most fragile residents. “I hope we can see these reductions with faces on them,” she told Nichols.
Faces?  Does the governor see human faces?  Would Jindal recognize a human face if he saw one?
Other reductions include:
  • Contract reductions for health care providers who help the poor, the mentally ill and the drug-addicted.
  • A 1 percent cut in the rate that doctors and hospitals are paid by the state to care for the poor.
  • The elimination of dental benefits for pregnant women relying on the state for health care.
  • Possibly laying off 63 state government workers.
Jindal is the man who wants to be president or vice-president of the US, or, if that doesn't happen, he wants a big job in Washington DC to have the power to mess up the country in the same way he's wrecked the state he "governs".  He spends much of his time traveling around the country drumming up support, ignoring our wreck of a state, except to dash home from time to time to cut the budgets of state agencies.  (For all I know, Jindal may cut the budget from afar, because he is not forthcoming with the local media about his out-of-state travels.)  When the national media portray Jindal as a rising star in the "new" Republican Party, beware.  The policies Jindal trumpets on the national scene are the same old Republican policies that advantage the rich at the expense of the poor and the middle class disguised by clever, manipulative words.  Jindal is the consummate flim-flam man.

Friday, December 14, 2012

AGAIN, AGAIN, AND AGAIN - COME TOGETHER AND STOP THE SHOOTINGS


The Maddow Blog
"We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," Obama said during a brief address from the White House, where he repeatedly wiped away tears.

"We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. Each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would, as a parent. And that is especially true today," said Obama, the father of two daughters.
Tom and I have close friends who live in Newtown, and we've visited there several times.  The small town is not a place anyone would have imagined such a tragedy happening.  I talked to my friend today to express my sympathy, shock, and horror for what has happened.  Such a terrible tragedy affects the entire community. 

I pray for those who died that they will rest in peace and rise in glory, and I pray for all who love them, that they will somehow find comfort, consolation, and peace.  I join in the prayers of many that the injured will recover and for strength for their families and friends.  I pray for the people in the community of Newtown and that we, as a country, will come together, as President Obama said, beyond politics to find ways to stop this sort of tragedy from happening again, and again, and again, for we can no longer call the mass shootings isolated incidents. 

A PRAYER FOR SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, NEWTOWN, CT

Prayer for Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut

hear your diverse people
as a world unites in prayer and compassion
for the people of Newtown Connecticut.
We pray for all involved in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Bless with your kindness those who speak to the broken-hearted.
Bless the teachers, paramedics, medical staff and police
with courage, skill and wisdom.
Bless those who mourn.
Bless those who grieve
and comfort the bewildered.
Help us each to build a world safe and fit for children.
Amen. Amen. Amen.
Amen.

And Rmj at Adventus:

Rend the heavens and rend our hearts.  Whatever it takes, we need it now.  It is unimaginable that we are still waiting for God to come and save us from ourselves.  Whatever relief there is from this horror, we cannot seem to provide it.

We can't even seem to talk about how to prevent it. 

DIARY POST - MAY BE BORING

 

What if you could put your life on rewind to a certain day or days and change how the days went? Yes, we've had books and movies on that very subject, which I will not name or discuss, because the post could get interesting. Last Saturday night, I readied myself to take my 15 year old dog, Diana, for a walk at around 10 PM. The late-night walk is not by choice but is necessary if Diana is not to wet her bed during the night. As she has grown older, she won't come to us at night to be let out if she has to pee or poo; she just does her business on the green carpet in the living room. Thus, we close her off in the part of the house which is not carpeted, which makes it impossible for her to come to us to be let out, which she won't do anyway. Washing a dog bed every day gets to be something of a chore, thus the late-night walks, which also have to be rather lengthy, because Diana does not take just one long pee but rather marks her spots all along the way. But her dog bed stays dry most nights.

Diana walks on a retractable lead, which I'd left unlocked as we started the walk. The weather was cool; Diana was frisky and started off at a run around the corner of the house and dragged the back of my hand and arm across the brick post of the carport. My skin is old and thin, and the result was bloody. Grandpère took over the walking chore, while I dressed my wounds, which I'm still dressing each time I shower. The scrapes have finally stopped bleeding, but I'm keeping the wounds covered so I don't injure them again with a scrape or a bump. If I could rewind Saturday night, I would secure the lead and have Diana, as they say, on a short leash.

Diana, Grandpère, and I had our 15 minutes of fame in our town.  Above and below are a photo and the story in the local newspaper, The Daily Comet, of how Diana came to live with us. She was wild as I walked her out of the vet's office, jumping up and down and trying to run, and I remember thinking, "What have we got ourselves into?" As the worker at the office helped me take Diana to the car, the end of the leash caught in the bottom of the car door. The worker was going to let the lead loose, but I told him, "No! Don't let it loose; as it is she can't jump on me while I'm driving home." And that was the beginning of a 14 year relationship.

 
 

And that dog don't hunt. Each time Diana was taken into the woods and let off the leash, she ended up back at Grandpère's truck, ready to go home. The woods where Tom and my sons hunt are not far  from our house, and, on one occasion, Diana became impatient and made her way home on her own. As I said, we love her anyway.

Click on the articles for the larger view. The article is dated February 6, 1998.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

DEMOCRATS: DO NOT RAISE THE AGE FOR MEDICARE ELIGIBILITY


Mr President and Democrats in Congress, do not cave in to Republicans, and raise the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67.  If you recall, Republicans lost the election.  Think about it.  Not everyone works in a comfortable chair at a desk in a climate-controlled office.  Some folks in their 60s are on their feet all day  Do you know what is the condition of their legs?  Some folks in their 60s do hard physical labor in all sorts of weather, which takes a toll on their bodies.  What if these people lose their jobs?  How many are likely to find jobs, much less jobs with health insurance benefits?  If the people in their 60s find jobs without benefits, how will they pay for health insurance?  Democrats won the election.  If you must, let the tax hikes go into effect.  Go over the fiscal cliff, which is actually a gentle slope.  In the next Congress, the numbers of Democrats in both houses of Congress will rise, so your negotiating position will be even stronger.  We did not elect you to put in place Republican policies.

If I could wave a magic wand, I'd adjust the premiums somewhat and lower the eligibility age for Medicare to 60 or 62 to get younger, healthier people into the pool, or I'd even allow anyone to buy in.  The rest of the citizens of the country ought to have the same access to health care as you do, Mr President and members of Congress.  Raising the eligibility age for Medicare is a really bad idea.  

Paul Krugman agrees:
Yet the idea just won’t go away. It’s almost surreal. What’s going on here?

One answer is that conservatives badly want a rise in the Medicare age, never mind the policy virtues or lack thereof. Why? Partly because liberals hate the idea: pay any attention to right-wing rhetoric and you learn that spite against liberals, even if there’s no gain for their side, is a major motivator. Beyond that, there is some actual strategic thinking here: by reducing the number of people receiving Medicare, they hope to undermine support for the whole program.
Right.  That's what Republicans want, but they lost the election.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the federal government could save $125 billion over the coming decade from such a change. But opponents note that the feds would simply be shifting costs from Medicare onto other payers, whether they be private employers, retirees or Medicaid.

A study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that raising the eligibility age would actually cause total U.S. spending on healthcare to increase, even as it saved the federal government money. The study predicted that costs would go up for both the seniors newly ineligible for Medicare -- they'd obtain coverage from less cost-effective private insurers -- and for those who stayed in the program, because the Medicare population would be older on average and riskier than before.
See?  The math doesn't work.  Republican math did not work during the campaign, and it doesn't work now, which is why we voted for Democrats.  Get it, Sirs? 
Increasing the eligibility age for Medicare saves money for the budget. But that’s no great policy feat – just kick some people off the rolls and boom, you’ve got some savings. In fact, it raises costs for the larger system (see here), while potentially leaving 65-66-year-olds with a less access to affordable coverage. That’s not “reform” — it’s a short-sighted attack on a critical, highly efficient program motivated not by efficiency, but by antipathy to social insurance.
Why is changing the eligibility age for Medicare on the table in negotiations?  Why do Democrats even mention the possibility?  The only reason Democrats should talk about the change in age requirements for Medicare is to repeat over and over that no such change will happen.  Thank heaven for women in the House and Senate:
[Rep. Nancy] Pelosi then went on CBS's "This Morning" and said Democrats would "object" to raising the Medicare eligibility age. Democrats in the House and Senate backed Pelosi.

“I haven’t heard any Democrat in our caucus say they’re open to raising the eligibility age,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said, according to The Hill.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), speaking for many Senate Democrats, said raising the Medicare eligibility age would be a "nonstarter."
Cautionary note: The link just above is to a far-right website, but they make my case for me.

Image from The Other 98%.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SO BEAUTIFUL OR SO WHAT



I think he still has it. Do you?

NOTABLE DATE

 
I'm told this won't happen for another 100 years, which makes good sense to me.  

Thanks to Doug on Facebook for the reminder.