Sixteen Republicans take a step to the left...for now.

On Thursday, the Senate voted to begin debate on gun-control. The vote marked the first time gun legislation will be argued in the upper chamber since the 1990's. The final vote to begin debate was 68 to 31, with 16 Republicans crossing the isle to allow arguments to proceed. There were some surprising names in the list of “yea” votes, like Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. All three senators have an “A” or “A+” rating from the NRA.

Just the fact that a debate has been allowed is historic, after years of Republicans blocking any and all discussion on gun control, the vote is far from a guarantee that new legislation will make it to the President's desk. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “the hard work starts now.” Senators fighting to enact commonsense gun laws still have to overcome a vote to end debate, and face a vote on the actual proposed legislation.

Families of the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting have been pushing lawmakers all week to allow a vote on gun-control, and their efforts were monumental in getting many republicans to stand with democrats in Thursday's vote. There is still a long way to go before commonsense gun legislation becomes law, but it appears that the 20 children of Newtown, the others that died with them, and the more than 3,000 victims of gun violence since may all finally get the vote they deserve.


Outback 9 years 50 weeks ago

Guns be damned! This is a red herring to distract the masses, along with gay rights and immigration reform. The most serious threat we face today is what they're planning to do to Social Security!

The Social Security argument is heating up! Politicians are making wild, unsupportable statements, aided and abetted by a mainstream news media that can only be described as "the voice of the oligarchy". In his recent budget announcement, President Barack Obama went so far as to say that the proposed chained-CPI change to the Social Security COLA calculation is designed to "strengthen" the program by gradually reducing payout. By this convoluted logic it would make sense to cut benefits to zero, thus preserving the Social Security Trust Fund forever (or until the vultures descend upon it, whichever comes first). Obama's statement is the most Orwellian thing I've heard come out of his mouth yet! The White House has also claimed that, while it was not the "optimal" outcome to include Social security reductions as part of the budged proposal, it was intended as a means of "drawing Republicans to the bargaining table". There are only two possible ways to interpret this; either Obama is once again rewarding the Republicans for their intransigence which will only reinforce that behavior, or taking down Social Security is one of his hidden agendas, which is to say he he has been a Republican mole in deep cover from the start. Neither interpretation is good. I've been interested in the Social Security debate for several years (mainly since I've retired) and have read every article that's come my way on the subject and done a fair amount of Googling of official government sources on the subject. Nowhere have I run across an article as true to the documented facts and as comprehensive regarding all of the issues on both sides of the debate as this article published a week ago in the Huffington Post. I urge anyone with an interest in getting to the truth on the Social Security outrage to read the following article:

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 50 weeks ago

Outback ~ Kudos my friend! Good point. However, have you considered that maybe they want to take our guns away to disarm us before they take our social safety net away. It might just be an innocent coincidence; but, personally I think at this point it would be to all of our benefit to throw everything we have into defeating this gun legislation just to send a shot across the bow that we can shoot back if we need to. What do you think?

douglas m 9 years 50 weeks ago

Amen. Outback

How many people got stabbed when someone freaked out this week? Regulate knives!

More gun laws equal more gun crime, argue with statistics.

Stealing Social Security FROM THE POOR?!?!? Thousand more times important!

STEAL FROM THE POOR AND GIVE TO THE RICH!!! Just to get re-electected every two/four years.


Outback 9 years 50 weeks ago

douglas m: I agree. This hysteria, whipped up by the media is BS. There are probably a dozen things that could be pursued on a national level to reduce violence, by ALL METHODS, that would be more effective than more gun control laws, starting with violent media (videos, movies) fed to children and adolescents. If this government is really interested in curbing violence against innocent civilians, then stop the endless warfare! I am so SICK of hearing about Newtown! A tragedy? Yes! But a wart on the ass of our own government's growing brutalization of the middle class and poor people in this country!!!

Outback 9 years 50 weeks ago

DAnneMarc, I don't disagree with stringent background checks, as long as they don't go overboard, but I think this assault rifle thing and large capacity magazines is simply silly. Anyone taken in by these spurious arguments doesn't know thing one about firearms.

As to surrendering our firearms, you already know my take on that. The day they try to do that is the day we will all know the reason we own them. No way is it remotely possible for that to happen.

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 49 weeks ago

I hate to break the bad news to you but here in Canada we have very stringent gun laws, everything you want and we still have just as much trouble as you do.

I agree with you though. it is all a distraction from what really matters. The economy. Get everyone back to work you get more tax revenue, less people are on welfare and food stamps, and all your problems are solved.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 49 weeks ago

Kend ~ Thanks! You are spot on!! Agreed 100%. Let's not give up the Good Fight!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 49 weeks ago

Outback you damn Redneck, just kidding.

The attack on our social safety net has been "brought to you by" the purposeful Bush economic depression, which created an opportunity for scapegoating well loved programs that make socialism look appealing to the masses. It's about the greed of the big money maniacs behind the Republican Party. It's about their hatred for anything non profit controlled by "We The People." The Post Office and Affordable Care Act fall into the same category. Apparently this handful of out of control billionaires even have Obama convinced that if we can just cut a little more from the poor, and give it to the super rich in the form of maintaining outrageously low Bush/Reagan tax rates, somehow this austerity tactic will fix the economy. I think they call it balanced cuts, shared sacrifice, or some such nonsense?

The attack on the push for non profit sensibility in areas like healthcare insurance is being showcased right now with Dicky Morris and his endorsement of the ObamaCare Survival Guide. It's blowin his mind that non profit single payer is just around the corner thanks to ObamaCare as the critical stepping stone allowing this to happen. Go Vermont!

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 9 years 49 weeks ago

Careful DAnneMARC...Though KENDS statement is "right" its his principles that are questionable; we cannot continue to allow a Mecavallian elitist ideology - "by any means necessary...the ends justify the means" to guide us. We have plenty of solid history of how such a way of thinking only bennefits a few while causing greater problems for the masses and the enviroment.
KEND is a SNAKE OIL SALESMAN for the 1%, he only cares about $$$.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 9 years 49 weeks ago

You sound like Fl. Gov. Rick "Dick" Scott. (No that is not a complement)
Soooo Dick, who's hireing???Whats the starting wage???Are the hours 40 a week plus overtime???How about know, healthcare, retirement plan.

Outback 9 years 49 weeks ago

wallywalt - Thanks for that link! Hoffmeister's very insightful post on video violence should be up in lights in the national media, the Huffington Post notwithstanding. After all, here's an adult that went through an experience very similar to those shared by school shooters, narrowly escaped turning into one, and has a lot to say on the subject.

If I had to guess why the Huffington Post refused to publish his article on the role of video game violence in the mass killing phenomenon, I'd say they felt it would detract from their single minded focus on guns and gun availability as the root cause of all the violence. If that's the case, I'm very disappointed in the Huffington Post.

Thank you again for calling attention to this excellent piece. I'll take the liberty to repeat the link here for others that may have an interest:

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 9 years 49 weeks ago

Yes, absolutely the rhetoric is a whole lot of noise in the wrong direction.

The Republicans are showing what Will Rodger said a long time ago; Republicans will screw up the government, just elect them and watch!

If ever there was a moment in time to observe stupid logic it is now. Totally agree the Social Security issues at hand sounds like noise. Social Security is O.K. and has the potential to get much, much better. I project the Social Security to double or triple in payouts amounts depending on citizenship guidelines. Yes, being a good citizen should count towards retirement. Those who can afford avoid paying taxes are exempt from Social Security. Possibly with assurance the citizen does not get convicted of any crime, especially political crimes, drugs, corruption!

As I mentioned before Social Security will likely merge with the Federal Reserve issuing a card. I would like to coin phrase in old English as the way Lincoln used the word, “score ", a word used to describe the number “20 ", One score or for the full period of a score for your retirement life. Credit cards issued for that score period paid for as in debit type cards in retirement.

No more risk of any political party economically terrorizing anyone. More over establish a surcharge the security and exchange transactions that are made in trading stocks and bonds that only the big hitter’s deal in right now. Those stock Transactions at blocks of 1000 or ten thousand and above can be surcharged with a small amount to fill the revenue needed for an advanced guaranteed retirement system. Moreover, let’s move the Wall Street to Main Street, twenty four hour sales anywhere. Internet included.

Whereas we the people need to vote for the right people in office to elevate and adjust for the prosperity and tranquility that is possible to achieve. Right now my personal view of the future is grim. For me to retire is to retire into what could be considered first level Social Security poverty. The last five decades of Congressional, Senate, policies have cornered me and my pension depleted because of business moves to Mexico, downsizing and bankruptcy. I am sure other Americans are in this category. I have to work I cannot retire. For me the American dream vanished with age, be careful it does not happen to you.

A Vietnam Veteran...

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 49 weeks ago

"Snake oil salesmen" come on Nachos what did I ever say to make you think that. I live in Alberta Canada, in the early 1990's we where 30 billion in debt. A great man named Ralph Klein was elected as Premier by saying he was going to reduce government and eliminate that huge debt it was the biggest austrarity program in N. America. The first thing he did was cut every government department including education and healthcare by 5%. No one even noticed. He privatized almost everything. The DMV, highway maintance, liqueur stores, etc. 15 years latter we had no debt no deficit, the highest standard of living in the country. The highest wages, lowest unemployment, people came from all over the country because of the tremendous opratunities here. We don't have to worry about minimum wage because the demand for workers is so great no one will work for the minium wage. Sadley Premier Klein passed away a couple of weeks ago but before that he was asked why he thought his party with its far right ideas held power for 40 years straight and going and he said "because we tried it and it worked".

I hope you understand why I say what I say. It's because I sincerely believe it is the right way to go.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 49 weeks ago

wallywait ~ I agree with Outback, that was an excellent article; and, it is very disturbing that so many venues--including the Huffington Post--refused to print it. Mental Health issues are the causes of this problem, not guns. Until the root causes are addressed this problem will never be solved.

Highly recommended reading:

Timothy Gilmore's picture
Timothy Gilmore 9 years 49 weeks ago

I think protesters against assault weapons should have cloth dolls painted to resemble a child shot by guns, then when the Fascist Wayne Pierre or any other Fascist pro-gun Republicanazi psycho stands up to talk, protesters file by the podium and put the dolls at his or her feet, or in his or her arms. Call them the Children of the NRA. That might shame the bat-crap crazy GOP into changing their stance, or at the very least give them targets with which they could practice on their shooting ranges.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 49 weeks ago

First, ban Pit Bulls! A 38 year old woman was ripped to shreds by a Pit Bull and she died. Had she been armed with an AK47 with mega-round clips, she could have blown that monster away. When are they going to destroy that breed and those of other large ferocious dogs?

All dogs have the capacity to lose their tempers and bite but the amount of damage done by larger breeds..especially the ones that have been bred to fight..are very lethal.

Awww...I probably know of, or even own one of these dogs, ones that are as "gentle as lambs". Dogs kill people and it is becoming more and more prevalent. I had a neighbor who had a couple of Pit Bulls and I was afraid they would break my fence down every time I went out to the back yard. I had to reinforce the fence. I even suspected that they were fighting those dogs because of some of the conversation I heard them say and the marks on the dog's back. I am so glad they moved! If you own a Pit Bull or other large dog that can do a lot of damage to people...know most likely have neighbors who wish you'd move too.

If ever there was a good reason to carry a weapon wherever you go one would be to protect yourself against these ferocious monsters that stalk the neighborhood...and I've seen them many times just walking down the streets...lose...joggers and pedestrians beware!!! And keep your kids inside!

Outback 9 years 49 weeks ago

Hey Palindromedary, I can empathize. I live on a little acreage here in North Idaho, where people like to have their dogs. My neighbor has a pit bull that seems to believe his territory extends to anything within earshot. Several times I've been confronted by this beast on our communal road. Twice I've had him snarling at me in my own driveway and once he had me backed into my own garage. I've spoken to my neighbor about the dog, but nothing has changed. I've now taken to packing my Springfield 1911 9mm pistol with me when I walk the 1/4 mile down to the mailbox. I'm so very happy Dianne Feinstein hasn't made that a felony offense.... yet....

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 49 weeks ago

Right on! Outback! One certainly has to protect oneself from being ripped to shreds. And if packing a weapon isn't acceptable...I suppose one could do what Steve Gibson (of the podcast Security Now) has done...he made a "Portable Dog Killer" out of some electronic parts. Of course it really doesn't "Kill" dogs but it sure has the effect of stopping dogs, even big vicious dogs, in their tracks and even scampering off in fear (maybe pain..probably). Steve created this PDK because he had a neighbor who had one of these Cujo Dogs that scared the bejesus out of everyone who passed by on the sidewalk (even though the dog was behind a tall fence). The dog rammed the gate so hard, Steve thought the dog would one day break through and hurt someone. His directional PDK sends out a very loud squealing sound at whatever it is pointed at. That dog no longer does that to people and minds his own business. And Steve didn't even have to shoot him....with bullets anyway. Very humane, I'd say. I don't think Steve is in the business of making PDKs for the market though. I don't think he is selling them.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 49 weeks ago

Gentlemen ~ I've never been particularly afraid of dogs, but I have had neighbor's dogs that have annoyed the hell out of me--trying to knock the fence over, snarling from behind the gate, and barking their heads off at all hours of the night. Personally, I refuse to own a dog out of simple respect for my neighbors. That goes for any breed, even the little ones. They make too much noise and leave surprises all over the yard. Cats are much easier on the owner, much cleaner on the environment, smell better, and don't bother the neighbors as much. They are also far smarter and not dangerous.

rocketman1701's picture
rocketman1701 9 years 49 weeks ago

Moving back to Thom's original article....

I disagree. The repub.'s wanted to open debate because they will promote their pro nra agenda. It also is a no loose debate for them. All they have to do is proclaim how they are standing up for the rights of 'Mericuns and apple pie and how the big bad govt. is going to take your gun and then shoot you, and only they are on your side to save you from the God hating dems who want to take all your guns and money and rape your daughters and allow dogs and cats to sleep together....

Wake up Thom.

Outback 9 years 49 weeks ago

The trouble with the strict gun control meme is that it isn't a solution to gun violence. We should have discovered that about our society through the failure of (alcohol) Prohibition. We Americans think of ourselves as a "free people". As such, we demand access to goods and services that some other societies are denied, and if someone tells us we can't have something we simply go around the law. It's the reason we are the biggest retail market for recreational drugs in the world. So simply legislating some arbitrary class of firearm out of existence will only create a black market for it, as experience amply demonstrates.

The real root cause of incidents like Aurora and Newtown (and Ruby Ridge and Waco) is that we are fundamentally a violent society. It's in our national DNA. We have been exploiters from our inception, first of a continent and more recently of a planet. Violence takes many forms. It can be direct physical violence but it's more frequently experienced as economic abuse. We have a growing wealth gap in this country that's been taking its toll on the national psyche for almost two generations. This has resulted in a growing number of traumatized people on the fringes; displaced workers, young folks just out of school with no path forward, much less upward. Against this backdrop, we provide our youth violent video games with which to "entertain" themselves while they act out their violent fantasies. It's the catalytic effect of video game violence which, I believe, accounts for the recent spate of mass shootings

So when I hear politicians offering up gun control as the solution and people climbing on board that band wagon in droves, it makes me wonder if the number of people in this country that apparently lack critical thinking skills has finally reached "critical mass". It's easy and natural to want to find a simple solution. But "gun control" is not a solution at all, at least, not in this society. In fact, there is no "magic bullet". The solution, if it ever comes, will be long, difficult, and involve the reformation of an entire society. I'm not holding my breath on that one.

In the meantime, I have no intention of giving up the weapons I've acquired over a lifetime, nor do I think others that obey existing common sense laws should be required to. in the final analysis, the individual is his (or her) last line of defense, and guns were invented by a physically weak but intelligent species to "equalize" the odds. Whether that be against the moose that likes to hang out in my back yard in the winter months (but only if necessary of course) or a platoon of Canadian infantry sent down to enforce the building of another pipeline (joking, Kend) or a squad of black clad, jack booted cops sent to relieve me of my 30 round magazines (yes, I have them and no, I am not a member of the NRA), I'm both prepared and hopeful I'll never have to use my weapons in that way.

For anyone reading this that comes away feeling that I'm a dangerous and irrational paranoid, be my guest. Call me names like wacko gun nut. But I'd rather err on the safe side than be sorry later. I respect your right to exercise your own choices and ask only that you respect mine.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 49 weeks ago

I certainly agree with you, Outlook. Many of us, who believe that we should not have our guns taken away from us are not all card-carrying, right-wing nut, NRA members. And not all NRA members are card-carrying, right-wind nuts. Many liberals also own guns. It is just the gullible people who have bought into the scare propaganda put out by the ruling elite, and their toadies, who want to keep us placid, flaccid and compliant.

Part of our national identity, from the very inception of our country, was to have the ability to resist those who would impose upon us their narrow-minded belief systems and control of us through taxation without representation. But removal of that "founding father" identity is exactly what is happening in America. And if they don't get us through taxation, they'll just steal it right out of our savings accounts. Our runaway prison system and foreign wars are not draining our retirement nest eggs fast enough for these people, I guess.

And they are planning for massive resistance which is why they are trying to take away any means of resistance, our guns, even if they are merely "symbolic"...they are still a deterrent to those who want easy pickings in the total oppression of the masses. Stalin, Hitler, and Mao Tse Tung knew this!

A well armed citizenry is a deterrent to oppression by the power elite. Without them, all you have is a pathetic and impotent mass of hopelessly exploited slaves or automatons who may as well be brain dead peons slavishly toiling to serve the whims of the ruling elite.

Besides, we need our guns to protect us from the predators that roam our streets...pit bulls...or other dangerous creatures. And this is even more true in our homes. If home invaders never had to worry about being killed by well-armed residents then there would be a lot more home invasions and murders of people right in their homes. The police usually only show up after someone is murdered...and now, they are so overwhelmed by crime and lack of funds, due to corruption, illegal wars, etc, that they are laying police off from many cities. It's becoming a "criminals market". What do you expect, though, when our country's highest leaders are corrupt criminals themselves setting the example for everyone else to follow. And they are mass-murderers too!

DAnnemarc, I agree, somewhat, that cats are usually not as bothersome as dogs. They usually are very quiet except when you are awakened in the middle of the night by a cat in heat or cats fighting. And they usually are not very dangerous except if your neighbor's pet cat is a really big one...say a Tiger or Mountain Lion, perhaps. But Pit Bulls are more in the classification of "dangerous" as are those larger cats. And most city ordinances ban having those large cats as pets. And so they should ban Pit Bulls..and some other potentially dangerous dogs....some communities have begun banning them...which is about time, I'd say!

As for the smaller cats....there are a couple of "stray" cats that I have been first, with the idea that if I fed them, they wouldn't eat my fish in my little fish pond. Well, I was wrong...they ate my fish anyway...actually, they didn't eat them...they just caught them and left them beside the pond.

The other thing about cats is they like to bury their crap in hard to find places beside the house. And some people might think this is more sanitary...except one usually doesn't discover the smelly cache except by discovery after a sizable, semi-buried pile has amassed. They will also pick places in a tilled garden, which is a problem for me. I have had to put up a chicken-wire fence around the garden to keep them out. Maybe I need to do that to my pond. I have tried buying cat litter, which they used until it rained.. soaking the cat litter. And now, they don't use dry cat litter anymore.

With a dog, they just go right out in the open where it is easy to spot and pick up. Sure, it smells but so does a cat's...especially a fermenting, half-buried pile of it. Now, hummingbirds are not much of a problem.

Now, it is easy to sensationalize things like Newtown, etal, especially when the media (major propagandists) are owned and controlled by the interests of the ruling elite. But, more people have been murdered in their homes than all those isolated, occasional , flare ups that grab all of the concentrated attention.

And it is not unfathomable that those who are desperately trying to subject the masses to their will, and squeeze them for all they have, would do all they could toward that endeavor. And what they could do, and would do, is manipulate the thinking of the masses through engineering levels of fear and confusion within the masses.

The Manchurian Candidate was a movie that was banned for quite a while for some good reason. It hit too close to home to what was possible by any government upon their people. MKULTRA was a reality and has morphed into other names, over the years, but the ability of a power group to control not only individuals but large masses of people is still quite apparent. I can't help but notice the same very odd, wide-eyed stare that pictures of these "perpetrators" have shown. All the same.

Outback 9 years 49 weeks ago

Palindromedary: You hit upon it exactly when you used the word "deterrent". Guns need not be actually used to provide that benefit. Here in rural North Idaho there is relatively little home burglary or break-in crime precisely because would be perpetrators know that behind virtually every door there is a loaded gun and someone who knows how to use it. The same applies in a general way to would be oppressors. As you say "A well armed citizenry is a deterrent to oppression by the power elite". There are those who would twist the words of the Second Amendment to argue that "militia" was intended to mean only an on call group of armed citizens that could be conscripted in time of war. But the Founders knew the dangers of big government if left unchecked. The armed citizenry of this country is the principal thing that ensures the abuse of power by the authorities will never reach the level it has in many other countries. Let's hope nothing ever occurs to remove that deterrent.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 49 weeks ago

Palindromedary ~ My God man, spay and neuter your pets and you will find peace at night. Here in Oakland we have a Feral fix program. If you can catch the cat the city will fix it and return it too it's natural habitat for free. A great program. We have personally sponsored over 10 Ferals in our neighborhood. I agree about howling cats in heat in the middle of the night, but fixing them fixes the problem and stops unneeded reproduction.

Your idea about putting out a litter box is sound. However, why would you put out a box that is not sheltered. We have several boxes in our yard and all are under rain shelter. We consider that common sense. As far a hiding "dumps" in your garden just consider that free fertilizer.

Don't discount the contribution of cats; especially, in keeping down the population of dangerous vermin like mice and rats. These critters are credited with spreading the Bubonic Plague. I think any inconvenience posed by cats cancels out the inconvenience of the Bubonic Plague. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The last I looked having a dangerous predatory large cat on your property was against the law.

rocketman1701 ~ The cuteness of your avatar forces me to agree with anything you say.

Outback 9 years 49 weeks ago

DAnneMarc and PD - I'm on staff for a large orange, male cat named "Julius" (AKA "Hercules" at his insistence). I've been instructed to tell you he approves of your public cat box initiative and urges others to follow suit. It's only in this way, he says , that we will come to "universal peace and good will". Not certain what he's getting at, but there it is....

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 49 weeks ago

Outback ~ I feel in accordance with the wishes of "Hercules"! They seem to be in step with the demands of "Xena" the warrior princess. Only by blind obedience will "universal peace and good will" be obtained. I'm not sure if I understand the concept but "I hear and obey"...

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 49 weeks ago

DAnnemarc..but here, in Shanghai, they eat cats (oh, and also, I'm a Chinese restaurant in Lawton, OK where they serve Cat Braise'). Recipe here. Anyway, I'm glad to hear that your city of Oakland is so proactive on a very bad problem in the states. Now if they could only neuter some of those bigger "cats" prowling the streets at night they might put a dent in a much bigger problem.

And, yes, I know big cats are illegal...what I am saying is that big dogs should also be illegal because they have proven themselves to be very dangerous and have killed people.

I heard, in the news, that some guy sitting in his car in front of a 7-11 was torched by a homeless man who tossed a molotov cocktail into his car. I wonder what was the reason for that? Didn't give the guy a dollar...maybe? They are getting desperate. I think you people in the states should get your politicians to ban molotov cocktails..oh, already illegal? So what good will it be to ban guns? Oh, and yet another school shooting? That CIA MKULTRA Manchurian Candidate program has got to stop. Call the White House now and tell Obama to abolish the CIA for using drugs and hypnosis to get some poor patsy to go wacko on people.

Outback 9 years 49 weeks ago

PD: "DAnnemarc..but here, in Shanghai, they eat cats...."

PD, You're in Shanghai? You English is exellent ;-) WTF are you doing there, if I may ask?

Or are you just jerking our chain?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 49 weeks ago

Outback: Just jerking your chain, of course! I did, however, go to Shanghai, once, a long time ago when the tallest building across from the Huangpu river from the Bund was the Oriental Pearl Tower. It was the tallest building there at the time...before they dwarfed it with all those sky scrapers. I walked all the way from the north end of the Bund south, across the Yangpu bridge, then north to the tower and went up into the tower. On another day, I walked from the Bund to the YuYuan Park where they had a nice Tea House surrounded by a pond of large Koi swimming around it. The thing I didn't like about it was the traffic and the air pollution not to mention the disgusting things I saw rapidly floating down the river...a very fast flowing river...probably a good thing the flow was rapid, too. Another time I took a hydrofoil from Hong Kong to Macau and then up to a city in mainland China north of Macau. Very bumpy roads with very few motor vehicles...mostly bicycles. I went to Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, and the New Territories a couple of times. The first time I went without reservations and all the Hotels were booked...people were camped out at the airport. I went to Shim Sha Tsui anyway and started checking for an availability...after an hour or so, I had the Hilton call around and found a room for me out someplace up into the New Territories..they even sent a limo for me...once I got there I realized that this was a really fantastic place away from all the hustle and bustle..up into the hills and my room was overlooking a big blue body of water that had some very tall islands jutting out of the water...picture post card perfect! It was a very nice hotel...there was even a Royals Royce parked in the garage. The room was very roomy, with an eat-in kitchen, and like I said a perfect view of those jutting islands viewed right through my large picture windows. Those islands were at least twice or three times taller than their base. So far, I have been unable to locate that place on Google finding needle in a haystack.

No, I was born and raised here in the good ol' US of A...even related to George I hear tell from other relatives who have done the genealogy thing.

Outback 9 years 49 weeks ago

Hoo Boy! You had me going there for a minute PD! The internet being so .... cosmopolitan, one can never be sure :-) And a direct descendent of GW? OMG, that's a pedigree!

Yeah, I've kicked around the orient a bit myself. Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia. Brings a whole new meaning to "Chinese food", doesn't it? ;-)

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 49 weeks ago

On Democrats supporting yet another tax hike on tobacco, drop the latte liberalism and think. This is yet another hardship mainly on older people on fixed incomes, during a time of tremendous stress. Cigarets went from about 50 cents per pack to over $7.00, mostly in taxes, so that we can maintain a healthy agenda of permanent warfare. This is yet another example of America's punk government, targeting the powerless, whether it's the elderly and disabled, babies and children, or little, comparatively undeveloped countries. Of course quitting isn't an option, and no, tobacco smoke is not a significant health threat in the US (obesity leads the way). We know the most carcinogenic type of smoke is the kind that contains oil particles, and the leading source is our addiction to private ownership of motor vehicles. The overall concern is that as a punk nation, we rely so heavfy on scapegoating various segments of the population. This has been a cultural poison that makes society unbearable. Overall, we've reached the point where we can't stand each other.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 9 years 49 weeks ago

Revenge, maybe? Assaults/murders of our homeless have actually become a sort of sport in the US, at least since the 1990s. On guns, it seems to me that we need to tax bullets like we tax tobacco, imposing enough taxes to raise the cost by at least 500%. Beyond this, as you report it, your story just doesn't add up or sound legitimate for a number of reasons. I think what really happened is that some guy was driving around, probably in a BMW, looking for something to do. He spotted a lone person who appeared to be homeless sitting on a bench, and flung a molotov cocktail at him (actually, probably shot him, snce it was surely a gun nut who would do that).

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 49 weeks ago

MMmmNACHOS ~ Your comments about Kend are correct. However, you fail to see that he makes a rather amusing cat toy. Especially for the bigger cat. Meow!

Outback 9 years 49 weeks ago

Well hey, SHFabian, you make some good points! But can you define "punk nation" for us illiterates? I have no idea what that means. Also, I gather you're a smoker, and I'm here to say you CAN give it up. I did after forty some years. As a former First Lady was fond of saying "just say no". I'm not saying it was easy, mind you. It was necessary for me to cary the same pack of cigarettes around in my shirt pocket for about two years, periodically pull it out and glare at it, but I'm happy to be off the filthy things. Now I spend my small amount of excess Social Security money on bullets, practicing down at the range so that I can get off clean shots at the homeless from my gas hog vehicle....

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 49 weeks ago

Outback: I have been to those places, except Taiwan (but I had heard stories about "Snake Alley", in Taiwan, and their famous snake-poison drink used as an aphrodisiac). I was actually supposed to go to Taiwan (although it wasn't originally planned) after I finished in Shanghai but I got sick and turned down the proposal and headed home (to the US). There's no place like home!

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 49 weeks ago

I wonder if anyone in this blog listens to Thom.

He says the main cause of our gun violence is the inequality in wealth and income. None of the comments seems to address that issue.

How does one interpret a 2nd amendent that says "a well regulated militia" to say that the 2nd amendment implies it is meant to defend ourselves from our own government? Incidentally, what was meant by a militia was well defined by the "Militia Act of 1787".

Palindromedary you provided the best reason for owning a Bushmaster. For those of us not well trained with weapons, it provides a useful tool for dealing with pit bulls and other similar predatory dogs. In spite of that, the only statistic I have heard that makes sense is that when assualt weapons ban expired, the number of deaths from assault weapons tripled. Why not just reinstate the assault weapons ban?

Outback 9 years 49 weeks ago

Yes, you're right about "no place like home" (for all its warts). Got to Taiwan a half dozen times and heard about Snake Alley but never had a chance to see it. And I never got to mainland China, even the New Territories - wish I had. But I love the Chinese culture and especially their food. Very friendly, family oriented people. I've found that people are basically the same everywhere. It's us who are the odd ducks!

Outback 9 years 49 weeks ago

Chuckle8 - I'll have to look up the "Militia Act of 1787" next time I'm doing some light reading. Is it safe to say that post dates the 2nd amendment? Will you agree that the Founders feared out of control government? And the sheer number of gun owners in this country certainly constitutes a "militia" of sorts. The 2nd, doesn't say "well organized", it says "well regulated", and that we are. Most of us don't go around shooting the place up because it's illegal if for no other reason.

As far as I know, Thom has never correlated gun violence with economics here on this blog, and no, I don't listen to his program on the air. What I hear him saying in this forum is the same old tired cliche crap about survivors of gun violence "deserving a vote". None of us has a "vote" anymore on issues of far greater significance than Newtown, including war. So I get really impatient with these diversions.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 49 weeks ago

I used to smoke, many, many years ago but decided to stop when I was about 21. I only smoked a couple of years. And ever since I was always very ticked off at others who smoked (because they would smoke anywhere and everywhere) exposing me to their bad habit...their stench. And I often wondered who had ill feeling toward me when I violated someone elses air space.

They didn't care, or perhaps, it didn't even occur to them that their stench was actually bothering other people. That it was hazardous to other people! Smoker: "Mind if I smoke?" My reply: "Mind if I fart?"

But it really is worse than that...second hand smoke can cause lung diseases in non-smokers who are exposed to that carcinogenic smoke. I suppose many smokers, once hooked on that drug, are too mentally dulled to even recognize what they are doing to other people. Smokers often subject their children to a lifelong exposure to cancer-causing fumes and they often grow up with lung diseases because of it.

I am glad they tax the tobacco products, like cigarettes, because cigarettes are absolutely NOT a necessity like food and they cause so many people to have really bad health problems that tends to strain our health care system so much that it drives the price of health care up for everyone....even non-smokers.

I just lost a relative, a Viet Nam vet, who smoked all his life and finally, at the age of 67, developed lung-cancer which spread throughout his body. The VA doctors said that he should quit smoking or anything they tried, like Kemo, wouldn't make much difference. Knowing he was likely going to die soon, he would not even give up the thing that was killing him. He was hooked. And his addiction drove him right into his grave. He wasn't responding favorably to Kemo. The image that I keep seeing in my mind is the one of the anti-smoking commercial of this woman who had a hole in her neck to breathe (and smoke through). She died too, of course. Some commercials are worth watching even though you might not like the message.

Those who can't afford to pay for expensive surgery or health care out of their own pockets should not put a drain on the rest of us because they didn't have the will-power to stop their nasty cancer-causing habit.

I'd go even further...those obese people who got that way by eating too much of the wrong things all their lives...should also be put into that category. I have a couple of other obese relatives that say "Oh, I just can't lose weight...I've tried...but I have got to eat!" Yeah, right...NO WILL POWER..NO PERSONAL DISCIPLINE!....You'll always be fat, and when you die of diseases caused by obesity you can just blame yourself for that. It is your bad health, right along with people who smoke, who drives the costs up for everyone.

Yes, there are the marketing forces that draw you in to eat those bad foods. They use psychology to sucker you in...and in that respect they are partially to blame. But you have to constantly be on guard and wary of what they are doing to you. Every commercial you see, no matter what it is they are selling, be cynical and critical of them...tune them out. That cute face, antic, or jingle just draws you in and influences you to buy their product. I take the cynical attitude toward every single commercial that they are using psychology...trying to trick me into giving them my money for products that, mostly, I don't need, I can really do without, products that won't work or will short...junk.

You really don't need to Super Size that Big Mac and an apple. Smoking or drinking booze is not at all glamorous but is what sometimes makes you into a coughing, wheezing, drunk loser rolling in the gutters or homeless beggars with terribly wrinkled and weathered facial features.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 49 weeks ago

Outback: Britain was our government before we rebelled against their tyranny. We needed guns then to fight tyranny just as we still need them now least make it not so easy for the tyrants to steal the last of our hard earned retirement nest eggs...or our Social Security and Medicare...if not our dignity...or our lives. And yes we are as outgunned by our tyrants as much as, or even more, than our founding fathers were by theirs. But when you give up your only symbols of resistance you give up all hope in liberty..turning your lives, and those of your children, and their children, over to the capricious and rapacious wolves.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 49 weeks ago

Many more of our people have died by the use of assault weapons in our military conducting illegal wars than has died in all the classrooms and movie theaters or college campuses put together. If they are going to ban assault rifles then they need to set a better example...stop using them to invade other countries...stop murdering innocent men, women, and children in the countries we invade. The problem is not the occasional violence that happens from time to time, that is sensationalized by a news media owned by people with vested interests in scaring people out of their guns. The problem is that we have a massive murder machine that creates more people wanting to strap on explosives or hijack airliners to crash into tall buildings.

Anyone wonder why those defensive anti-aircraft guns mounted on top of the Pentagon weren't even used during 911? Or why those fighter jets, normally based out of Andrews AFB, weren't there and even when they were scrambled from a further away base...they were sent out over the ocean rather than toward the "hijacked" planes? Kind of like when FDR sent all the "choice" navy ships out of Pearl Harbor just days before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 9 years 49 weeks ago

Thom and louise hartmann

Stephen Hawking made a comment:

“It seems better to employ the principle known as Occam's razor and cut out all the features of the theory that cannot be observed.”

Hmm, seems if America cuts out the vote, or debate or movie specials. Gun background checks that Republicans refuse to be done would seem like a sedition brokered society equipped to bloom in chaos at any moment.

All which fly’s in face of the Republican uncertainty philosophy! Being ignorant is a special case of the current Republican Wahhabi Tea Party, Allah NRA. (A la NRA) or a la carte, table d'hôte, or there is no choice. With a laugh and a giggle, there is no choice for anything, its like you can only order sliced gerrymander soused with well-done long lines of frustration.

This position in politics reveals a neurotic stand; make em sweat politics, like being the job creators of a sedition long lines brokered economy on the razors edge of the NRA. Instead of old fashion cigarette girls now we have Ultra ammo Rambo babes slinging cartage ten packs in a flying bungee performance special movies with complimentary pizza. For me as a maniac is to know, though I don’t own a gun or rifle, or automatic machine gun which would be fun, I do have total respect and support for the ban on these weapons in the citizen’s village. Automatic machine guns only imply misery. Incidentally for me being on the edge of economic disaster because of both political parties has enabled me to clearly develop a sense of direction out of this nonsense.

We keep hearing “Keep things simple” the law of parsimony, or the rule of simplicity. Heuristic rule of thumb or the master of the quotable Einstein:

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

My personal hero, 1939 Paul Dirac the derivative man, in part said “simplicity and beauty are the same, but where they clash the latter must take precedence." My point is, it’s economic and out of balance has been for at least a century. America is pulling out of the old world European Gaussian home buying platform. If ever there was a time when I must agree with Seven Forbes, which I usually disagree with, to be somewhat right it now for his flat tax agenda being careful working in the citizen’s favor.

Home ownership needs to dump the Amortization of loans. A flat fee or tax is replaced on purchases of home buying. Please don’t say that it would be impossible to do: It can be, just by voting for it. My argument for this will be in other messages no time now.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 49 weeks ago

Uh, oh! Look out N.Korea! Will N. Korea take the blame for what has now happened in Boston? Is this another false flag meant to either be an excuse to invade N. Korea? ...or is it a false flag to take our minds off off having our Social programs stolen from us? A wag the dog situation? Don't get all uber-patriotic and hastily shoo your sons and daughters out the door to join up with the world's largest terrorist organization..the US Military. N. Korea is well armed and they have highly trained and disciplined fighting forces ready to go to war against any imperialist, hegemonic false-flaggers who hastily train their last-minute-soldiers who get suckered in on false pretenses.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 49 weeks ago

To those not already glued to the tube...several explosions ripped through the area of the Boston Marathon finish line sending people to the hospital...don't know if anyone was killed yet. There was a report that they found yet another "bomb?" at the Mayflower Hotel.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 49 weeks ago

As Thom says, Britain was not our government, they were an occupying force at the time of the American revolution.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 49 weeks ago

For science, engineering, math etc. simplicity is desired.

For business one may want to be as complex as possible to thwart competition and government regulation including taxes

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 49 weeks ago

It might be an electrical explosion like we had in LA.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 49 weeks ago

Palindromedary wrote ~ "So what good will it be to ban guns? Oh, and yet another school shooting? That CIA MKULTRA Manchurian Candidate program has got to stop. Call the White House now and tell Obama to abolish the CIA for using drugs and hypnosis to get some poor patsy to go wacko on people."

I must say your conspiracies are quite compelling. The thought of this scenario has crossed my mind more than once as well. It is a most disturbing thought, indeed. Sacrificing children to disarm the nation. The theory is further credited as a result of the instant pursuit of gun control rather than addressing mental health. Not to bring up the supernatural again, but I'm sure Palindromedary you are aware that child sacrifice is common among pagan and satanic rituals. Since you're going to rail accusations against everyone from the CIA to the Administration, why leave Satan out of the loop as well. Without clear evidence your chances of getting the Administration to confess with a simple phone call are about as good as getting Satan to surrender as well.

Despite the opposition such a theory would entertain, Palindromedary, I feel your suspicions more than warrant a full investigation--starting with the shooters themselves. A good team of psychologists should be able to determine if these men have been brain washed or not. We the People demand the truth. So far, it is the Government who is behaving the most suspiciously.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 49 weeks ago

Palindromedary ~ JUST WHAT THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT NEEDS! Another False Flag! Just in time for the budget cuts. How low with this Defense Department go for the almighty dollar? Again, sacrificing it's own for profit. Disgusting!

We're supposed to believe Terrorists are going to act in time to prevent budget cuts to they're enemy's? They really think we're stupid!

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