Weekend Open Thread

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

50 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. SamCat says:

    Alas, Vger must be indisposed today or better yet having fun somewhere.  I shall step into the breech.

    T*ump stinks.  Please stay upwind my friends. 

    • MADCO says:

      The Right To Bear Arms, Chief Justice Warren Burger

      A distinguished citizen takes a stand on one of the most controversial issues in the nation

      By Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States (1969-86)
      Parade Magazine, January 14, 1990, page 4

      Our metropolitan centers, and some suburban communities of America, are setting new records for homicides by handguns. Many of our large centers have up to 10 times the murder rate of all of Western Europe. In 1988, there were 9000 handgun murders in America. Last year, Washington, D.C., alone had more than 400 homicides — setting a new record for our capital.

      The Constitution of the United States, in its Second Amendment, guarantees a "right of the people to keep and bear arms." However, the meaning of this clause cannot be understood except by looking to the purpose, the setting and the objectives of the draftsmen. The first 10 amendments — the Bill of Rights — were not drafted at Philadelphia in 1787; that document came two years later than the Constitution. Most of the states already had bills of rights, but the Constitution might not have been ratified in 1788 if the states had not had assurances that a national Bill of Rights would soon be added.

      People of that day were apprehensive about the new "monster" national government presented to them, and this helps explain the language and purpose of the Second Amendment. A few lines after the First Amendment's guarantees — against "establishment of religion," "free exercise" of religion, free speech and free press — came a guarantee that grew out of the deep-seated fear of a "national" or "standing" army. The same First Congress that approved the right to keep and bear arms also limited the national army to 840 men; Congress in the Second Amendment then provided:

      "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

      In the 1789 debate in Congress on James Madison's proposed Bill of Rights, Elbridge Gerry argued that a state militia was necessary:

      "to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty … Whenever governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia in order to raise and army upon their ruins."

      We see that the need for a state militia was the predicate of the "right" guaranteed; in short, it was declared "necessary" in order to have a state military force to protect the security of the state. That Second Amendment clause must be read as though the word "because" was the opening word of the guarantee. Today, of course, the "state militia" serves a very different purpose. A huge national defense establishment has taken over the role of the militia of 200 years ago.

      Some have exploited these ancient concerns, blurring sporting guns — rifles, shotguns and even machine pistols — with all firearms, including what are now called "Saturday night specials." There is, of course, a great difference between sporting guns and handguns. Some regulation of handguns has long been accepted as imperative; laws relating to "concealed weapons" are common. That we may be "over-regulated" in some areas of life has never held us back from more regulation of automobiles, airplanes, motorboats and "concealed weapons."

      Let's look at the history.

      First, many of the 3.5 million people living in the 13 original Colonies depended on wild game for food, and a good many of them required firearms for their defense from marauding Indians — and later from the French and English. Underlying all these needs was an important concept that each able-bodied man in each of the 133 independent states had to help or defend his state.

      The early opposition to the idea of national or standing armies was maintained under the Articles of Confederation; that confederation had no standing army and wanted none. The state militia — essentially a part-time citizen army, as in Switzerland today — was the only kind of "army" they wanted. From the time of the Declaration of Independence through the victory at Yorktown in 1781, George Washington, as the commander-in-chief of these volunteer-militia armies, had to depend upon the states to send those volunteers.

      When a company of New Jersey militia volunteers reported for duty to Washington at Valley Forge, the men initially declined to take an oath to "the United States," maintaining, "Our country is New Jersey." Massachusetts Bay men, Virginians and others felt the same way. To the American of the 18th century, his state was his country, and his freedom was defended by his militia.

      The victory at Yorktown — and the ratification of the Bill of Rights a decade later — did not change people's attitudes about a national army. They had lived for years under the notion that each state would maintain its own military establishment, and the seaboard states had their own navies as well. These people, and their fathers and grandfathers before them, remembered how monarchs had used standing armies to oppress their ancestors in Europe. Americans wanted no part of this. A state militia, like a rifle and powder horn, was as much a part of life as the automobile is today; pistols were largely for officers, aristocrats — and dueling.

      Against this background, it was not surprising that the provision concerning firearms emerged in very simple terms with the significant predicate — basing the right on the necessity for a "well regulated militia," a state army.

      In the two centuries since then — with two world wars and some lesser ones — it has become clear, sadly, that we have no choice but to maintain a standing national army while still maintaining a "militia" by way of the National Guard, which can be swiftly integrated into the national defense forces.

      Americans also have a right to defend their homes, and we need not challenge that. Nor does anyone seriously question that the Constitution protects the right of hunters to own and keep sporting guns for hunting game any more than anyone would challenge the right to own and keep fishing rods and other equipment for fishing — or to own automobiles. To "keep and bear arms" for hunting today is essentially a recreational activity and not an imperative of survival, as it was 200 years ago; "Saturday night specials" and machine guns are not recreational weapons and surely are as much in need of regulation as motor vehicles.

      Americans should ask themselves a few questions. The Constitution does not mention automobiles or motorboats, but the right to keep and own an automobile is beyond question; equally beyond question is the power of the state to regulate the purchase or the transfer of such a vehicle and the right to license the vehicle and the driver with reasonable standards. In some places, even a bicycle must be registered, as must some household dogs.

      If we are to stop this mindless homicidal carnage, is it unreasonable:

      1. to provide that, to acquire a firearm, an application be made reciting age, residence, employment and any prior criminal convictions?
      2. to required that this application lie on the table for 10 days (absent a showing for urgent need) before the license would be issued?
      3. that the transfer of a firearm be made essentially as with that of a motor vehicle?
      4. to have a "ballistic fingerprint" of the firearm made by the manufacturer and filed with the license record so that, if a bullet is found in a victim's body, law enforcement might be helped in finding the culprit?

      These are the kind of questions the American people must answer if we are to preserve the "domestic tranquillity" promised in the Constitution

      • Davie says:

        The epidemic continues:

        In the days since 17 children and teachers were fatally shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, at least 21 other children have been killed by gun violence in the U.S., according to shootings tracked by the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.

        Those other lives include a total of 1,300 children who die and nearly 6,000 more who suffer gunshot wounds every year in the U.S., according to the analysis of childhood deaths and injuries due to firearms published in Pediatrics. Of those killed, 53 percent of them died in homicides, another 38 percent committed suicide and 6 percent were killed unintentionally, often when playing with a gun they didn’t know was loaded.

        And these are just statistics about our children…

  2. MADCO says:

    <oh, it's easy
    just click source, past the link 

    and post>

    Whatever.  It's worth hearing him say it

    • mamajama55 says:

      Here ya go, MADCO. It is worthwhile hearing him say it. It's sad that we're still making the same arguments today, while the body count has gone up by an order of magnitude. 

      My little town is all up in arms (pun intended) over whether its teachers should be required or allowed to concealed carry weapons on campus. I wonder what the Chief Justice would have made of that.

      To post a video. 1. Find your video. 2. Look for the button or arrow for "Share". 3. Under that menu, there should be an embed code starting with <iframe=      4.Copy this code. 5. On your Pols post , click the Source button. 6. Paste the embed code. 7. Post comment

  3. Davie says:

    Well, well, well — the tax bill scribbled on a cocktail napkin has a few "oopsies".  

    Republicans would like to address the problems as soon as next month, as part of legislation needed to fund the government. But to do that, they’ll need assistance from Democrats, and it’s unclear they are in any mood to help. They were shut out of the process of writing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and may be looking for payback after Republicans steadfastly refused to allow them to fix hitches in the Affordable Care Act.

    Some Democrats say they will want to widely reopen the law, as part of any effort to clean up the legislative miscues.

    “We’re not going to say to Republicans, ‘Oh tell us what you want to do,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who sits on the tax-writing Finance Committee. “We want to make the bill better, not just correct whatever technical fix is needed.”

    Perhaps one of the improvements is to reverse the 80/20 split on tax cuts so that 80% go to the 99% and 20% go to the 1%.  Sound fair?

    If we’re going to have trillion dollar deficits, we might as well return the money to the people that will actually spend it and thus grow the economy and jobs

  4. Davie says:

    Oh, and about those trillion dollar deficits:

    wuc180214-1160.jpg

    • Pseudonymous says:

      A science and math camp hosted by Raytheon changed her life. Now, Lilly Crain, a manufacturing engineer for Raytheon Missile Systems, is using her experience to show girls that no careers are just for men: https://t.co/mnEP9irlIv #Eweek2018 #STEM pic.twitter.com/5H9jfbJQYc

      — Raytheon (@Raytheon) February 25, 2018

      • Davie says:

        The Twitter follow up comments are perfect!

      • mamajama55 says:

        It doesn't mean that that girl, or any kid, will stay in the military industry field the rest of their lives. It's also pretty common to take advantage of the education and experience, learn what you can, get the required pieces of paper, and move away from a line of work that feels immoral or unethical, even if it pays well.

        People do it all the time.

        • Pseudonymous says:

          People also don't do it all the time.  They stay in and continue to build the weapons and feed the culture that leads to military intervention at the drop of a hat and without any regard for the millions of innocents slain

          1. Get government to beggar social programs, like education, in favor of insane amounts of spending on defense.

          2. Create your own education program, which draws in students by virtue of the fact that these sorts of programs aren't available to them because of a lack of funding (see 1).

          3. Indoctrinate students into the benevolence of the military-industrial complex, by showing them that the science of creating things that destroy people who don't look like them and live far away is "fun and cool."

          4. Get those same kids to join the team, and recruit the next generation of warmongers.

          5. Profit! (well, actually, profit happens at all these steps.)

  5. mamajama55 says:

    Who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas? The school that was terrorized by a mass murderer was named after this famous suffragette, activist, and conservationist. Here are some of her wise words:

    I think that Ms. Stoneman Douglas would be proud of the students leading the fight for reasonable gun regulation.

    • Davie says:

      Ms. Stoneman Douglas was a remarkable woman and excellent example for the students of her namesake school to follow.

      Another exceptional woman that had a direct influence on these students (and Broward County in general) was a teacher at Nova High in Davie, ahem, Florida just a few miles to the south.  Debate is now a standard part of the curriculum throughout the county and is available beginning as soon as the elementary school level!

      RHODA KIRSCHNER RADOW, 75

       July 21, 2005

      Highly regarded Nova High School teacher, debate coach 

      BY KENDRA MARR 
      kmarr@[sign in to see URL] 

      Rhoda Kirschner Radow, one of the top debate coaches in the country and a highly celebrated Nova High School teacher, died Sunday. She was 75. 

      At her first debate competition, Radow and her 15 debate students were promptly rejected by competition officials who regarded tournaments as a private club. But Radow returned with her debate students every Saturday for a year until one coach said, “Aw, let's let her in already.'' 

      ''She was very strong willed, very much in control,'' Flynn said. 

      It was the start of a debating legacy under Radow that propelled many of her students to successful careers as lawyers. At one point, a majority of the legal staff for the city of Hollywood consisted of former students — and made her a much-sought-after debate coach. In her career, she coached more than 200 state champions. 

      When she started as an English teacher, she knew nothing about debate. 

      ''None of us knew anything; the kids and I learned together,'' Radow told The Herald when she retired in 1996. 

      She became so popular, Flynn said, that there were 400 students on the debate class waiting list. 

      As a teacher, Radow pushed her students to challenge themselves. 

      She founded Nova's Great Books classes, a seminar that encouraged open discussion about college-level literature. The state later adopted the classes. Students read books such as Voltaire's Candide and Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. 

      In 1972, Radow pioneered the Nova European Campus Program. Each year, she traveled with a group of students to Europe for six weeks, teaching history and English at historical sites and museums. Students raved about the program so much that those entering high school planned to go years in advance, Flynn said. 

      She won numerous awards and honors during her 28 years teaching at Nova, including The Miami Herald Silver Knight in 1990, which she won for outstanding teaching, and the Broward County Teacher of the Year award in 1971. 

       

      Thursday, November 20, 2014

      Congratulations to Nova High School and Coral Springs High School, on recent accolades from the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA). 

      During the Blue Key Speech and Debate Tournament, held October 31-November 2, 2014 at the University of Florida, Nova High School’s Debate Team won the Rhoda Radow Cup, named after the founder of Nova's Debate Team. The Rhoda Radow Cup is awarded to the team with the most success in team debate, original oration and extemporaneous speaking. Nova also received the overall Sweepstakes award during the tournament. More than 3,000 students from around the country competed.

      Nova is the recipient of the overall Sweepstakes Award at the New York City Invitational, which took place October 17-19, 2014. With more than 1,300 students competing in the national speech and debate competition.
      In the NSDA, each time a student competes, points are earned leading to degrees in the League. Nova High School's Debate Team is currently ranked in first place, out of the top 10 teams in the nation.

      Coral Springs High School’s Debate Team also received recognition, based on points earned. The team is currently ranked in the top five percent of schools nationwide, and has also earned membership in the NSDA’s presitigious 200 Club.

      Both of these milestones are remarkable demonstrations of the outstanding commitment to teaching students essential life skills – including communication, research, listening, writing and organization.

      • JohnInDenver says:

        Yeah!!! thanks for the write up of a debate coach.

        And should there be any idealistic former debaters, speakers, or people who want to encourage educational debate, check out the Denver Urban Debate League. Teaching debate and speech skills to students from underserved schools for 10 years.  It would be especially great if you can come and judge sometime. No experience needed.

        Denver Urban Debate League

        • Davie says:

          That is a fantastic program you have.  I had no idea this was available in Denver (I never had any kids in the Denver school system), but glad to see it expanding into multiple schools in the metro area.  Congratulations!

          Unfortunately, I'd be a fish out of water, never having participated in debate nor studied law.  Just a computer geek that had the good fortune to have Mrs. Radow as my English teacher in high school.  Her pursuit of a debate program started after I graduated.

          But as the young voices at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High are demonstrating, the skills learned will serve them well in effecting positive change.

        • mamajama55 says:

          Debate is one of the best practices for young people. Much of what is wrong with our politics today (bullying, use of logical fallacies, refusal to answer direct questions) could be at least recognized and called out with adherence to rules of debate.

          I've been a debate judge for several years, taught Speech, but probably won't drive down to Denver to judge. We have a Fiesta League out here. Kudos to you for participating, and honoring Ms. Radow!

           

  6. notaskinnycook says:

    Here’s another piece on her. It’s quite lengthy so I’ll just post the link.

    https://www.democraticunderground.com/100210277716

  7. mamajama55 says:

    Posted on I25 near Beulah, Colorado yesterday:

  8. Pseudonymous says:

    California Democrats decline to endorse Feinstein

    In a sharp rebuke to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democratic Party has declined to endorse the state’s own senior senator in her bid for reelection.

    Riven by conflict between progressive and more moderate forces at the state party’s annual convention here, delegates favored Feinstein’s progressive rival, state Senate leader Kevin de León, over Feinstein by a vote of 54 percent to 37 percent, according to results announced Sunday.

    Neither candidate reached the 60 percent threshold required to receive the party endorsement for 2018. But the snubbing of Feinstein led de León to claim a victory for his struggling campaign.

  9. Duke Cox says:

    The mobilization of these young people and the technology they have at their fingertips may generate a phenomomenon the political establishment has never seen and cannot anticipate. They move quickly, their decision making processes are swift because of their interconnected ness, they don't have the built in inhibitions that stymie most adults…so many ways they can come at you.

    Only one thing will change the direction in which this country is headed…short of civil war. The progressive community in this country must demonstrate to the rest of the nation that it, not the "everyone for himself, winner take all, corporations are people" conservative movement and their Trumpublican Party, represents the future. It will take a massive effort.

    The mid-term elections in November are, perhaps, the best chance left to us of reversing the downward spiral of American society into a decidedly non-democratic oligarchy. The turnout in November must be ginormous and the Trumpublican machine must be dismantled. Period.

    If the GOP isn't removed from control of this government, democracy is doomed. The effort to overcome the voter suppression of the Republicans and the meddling of the Russians is only possible by turning out voters in such incredible numbers, we take away both the House and Senate from the Party of Hate®, the party of Big Money.

    I have mentioned this before. Perhaps the most telling words uttered, so far, by the Racist in Chief were the "shithole country" remarks.

    Compare those with the words at the feet of Lady Liberty. It tells you all you need to know about the root of our problem.

     

    • Voyageur says:

      What Duke said.  

      We have an example of Generational change In attitudes toward sexual minorities.  In state after state, Blue  or red, anti lgbt Initiatives passed Every time.  Until they didn't and the LGBT side won four out of four.  The difference is every election more old people die, more young ones reach voting age.

      Sadly, young people haven't usually bothered to vote, so we of the geezertariat beat them at the polls.  But if their shock at learning that most politicians prefer NRA money and NRA votes to protecting their lives drives them to use the power they have to change the world, well hooray.

      Tell the Falwells and La Pierres that their days of running this country are over.

      • Davie says:

        A generally accepted truism is that Change Happens One Funeral At A Time.  Kids, now it's your turn — make the most of it!

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          Duke should broaden his scope. I'll refer again to the Hightower Lowdown article telling how an unlikely coalition of progressives and common sense conservatives took back control of the Colorado Springs city council last year from the bloated plutocrats and their minions. The best approach is to reclaim the center; from the far right wing fascists and evangelicals. And reclaim it from the hard core socialists of the far left.

          Unfortunately, it does seem that the Dems are growing complacent again, thinking that blasting Trump 24/7 will make up for a lack of good ideas. And, I've said this before. Dems need new leadership. Time for Pelosi and Hoyer to step aside from House leadership. New people have less baggage to get targeted by the Koch brothers' $400 million.

          • Voyageur says:

            The dems could use a few leaders who aren't eligible for medicare.  DiFi has been a very good senator.  But she's 85.  

             

          • Davie says:

            Generally, I don't disagree, but I have a few quibbles. 

            1.  "Far left socialists"?  I'm not aware of any of them elected or in any position of influence — care to name some locally or even nationally?

            2.  Complacent?  The special election wins are significantly better than expected.  Tragically, the mass shootings have also served as a call to action to challenge the GOP narrative and should cause a surge in Democratic support.

            3.  Lack of good ideas.  Ok, that one is probably valid.  However, the GOP's "no taxes, no how, for nuttin' forever" mantra is a hard argument to counter when they have succeeded in stealing trillions from the pocketbooks of the under-millionaire class, leaving millions fearful, insecure and unwilling to raise taxes, rather hoping as do the Republicans, that someone else will pick up the tab.

      • MADCO says:

        Falwell?
        If you mean Jr., he is in charge of his little corner of paradise.  And not going anywhere

  10. Davie says:

    A lonely voice in the GOP wilderness, booed and escorted out of CPAC for her own safety:

    CPAC Speaker Lambasts GOP ‘Hypocrites’ Over Trump Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Mona Charen, a conservative political analyst, was booed for her comments and later was escorted by security from the event for her safety.

    She wrote an Op-Ed piece in today's New York Times, too.

    I’d been dreading it for days, but when it came, I almost welcomed it. There is nothing more freeing than telling the truth. And it must be done, again and again, by those of us who refuse to be absorbed into this brainless, sinister, clownish thing called Trumpism, by those of us who refuse to overlook the fools, frauds and fascists attempting to glide along in his slipstream into respectability.

    I spoke to a hostile audience for the sake of every person who has watched this spectacle of mendacity in disbelief and misery for the past two years. Just hearing the words you know are true can serve as ballast, steadying your mind when so much seems unreal.

    For traditional conservatives, the past two years have felt like a Twilight Zone episode. Politicians, activists and intellectuals have succumbed with numbing regularity, betraying every principle they once claimed to uphold. But there remains a vigorous remnant of dissenters. I hear from them. There were even some at CPAC.

    Seems she’s met Moldy and others of his ilk and isn’t impressed.

     

    • notaskinnycook says:

      Good for her for going into hostile territory. I seldom completely agreed with her but I used to enjoy her column in the Post. She was a feisty broad even way back when; bet she's a spit-fire these days.

  11. Diogenesdemar says:

    Just got your prescription filled, but still not feeling any better??? . . .

    . . . maybe you’re feeling the effects of that “invisible fist” of big pharma?

    Why Your Pharmacist Can’t Tell You That $20 Prescription Could Cost Only $8

    https://nyti.ms/2sQSdfM

    . . . I don’t imagine any of our kiddies at Colorado’s Lincoln & Colfax Bouncy Castle Day Care & Gun Show will have any free time to address this issue?

  12. mamajama55 says:

    Which of the GOP Governor candidates is the biggest defender of the oil and gas industry? The Indy's Corey Hutchins reports:

    Looks like Coffman and Stapleton are tied, with Mitt Romney's nephew trying hard to weigh in, and only  Victor Mitchell dissenting.

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