Thursday, October 10, 2013

What part of Non-essential Don't You Understand?

Just curious - has the government "shutdown" affected you personally?  In our household we have not  seen any effects.  I am assuming that Ron's Social Security check will arrive at the bank as usual.  We are not trying to visit any of the national parks, so no problem there.  Of course, I would be upset if we were planning a trip to Glacier and found it closed, but, hey, it's already snowed up there, so pretty soon the Going To The Sun highway will be closed for the winter anyway.  

I read that all "essential" workers were still working, and it was only "non-essential" workers were staying ofy the job.  Ummmm, wonder what would happen if the definition of non-essential were actually applied?

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Hit 'Em Where It Hurts, Boys!

This is great news!  When businesses are hurt financially by supporting the gun lobby, that is a powerful incentive for change.  This article appeared online at Media Matters.  Red highlights are mine.

"NBC Sports will not be a sponsor of the nation's largest gun trade show next year, a spokesperson confirmed to Media Matters. The network had served for several years as a top sponsor of the event, which has billed itself as a show of industry strength against stronger gun laws.

"Our level of sponsorship has varied each year, and this January we will not be sponsoring the show because it does not make business sense for us at this time," said the NBC Sports spokesperson.

The Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show calls itself the "the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries" and "the world's premier exposition of combined firearms." Manufacturers use the event to show off their latest products, typically including an array of assault rifles, tactical shotguns, and pistols with high-capacity magazines.

According to its organizer, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (the trade association for firearms manufacturers and dealers), the trade show is also "a powerful display of industry unity and its resolve to meet any challenge affecting the right to make, sell and own firearms."

In January, NBC Sports returned as the sponsor of the show's New Product Center, "the showcase for innovative, new equipment being introduced to the hunting, shooting, outdoors and law enforcement markets," using the event to promote their hunting programming. That sponsorship drew criticism since it came in the wake of NBC Sports host Bob Costas' on-air censure of the nation's "gun culture" and the December 2012 mass shooting in Sandy Hook, CT.

While NBC Sports will not sponsor the event, their executives will be at the show conducting meetings and entertaining clients, according to the network's spokesperson, who stressed that the network is participating for the show's focus on hunting and outdoor sports, not firearms.

The statement comes just days after a controversy involving the network's firearms programming.

On September 29, NBC Sports announced that it had cancelled the National Rifle Association-sponsored hunting show Under Wild Skies. That program came under fire after the network aired an episode in which an elephant was shot in the face twice by host Tony Makris, a prominent NRA strategist."

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Here's a thought.  When Obamacare is fully implemented, and, in spite of the Tea party, it will be, there will be millions of people who will now have health coverage who never did before.  Those people were the ones who showed up in emergency rooms and whose bills were absorbed by the hospitals (or paid by charging those with insurance astronomical amounts). We have already heard that we will need young, healthy people sign up or the arrangement just won't work.  So now the insurers will be paying the bills for folks who weren't part of the system.

But here's what I am anxious to see: will the insurers start looking for ways to save money?  I think we can assume they will.  So, they will start campaigning against fast food, against HFC syrupy drinks, for more exercise, and, most importantly, for more gun control.  When these insurers start paying out thousands and thousands of dollars to cover costs to treat a victim of a drive-by shooting, they will look for ways to keep that kid out of the hospital.  Maybe the government will then have a group pushing for reducing gun violence that is as persuasive as the NRA is in pushing them to do nothing.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Where's the Science?

Last week, when gunshots rang out in the Capitol, there were legislators who hit the floor on their bellies, under a desk if possible.  I wonder how many of them were praying, "God, please don't let him have an assault weapon!"  Fortunately for them, this time it was law enforcement doing the shooting, but one of these days . . . . . . .

In an interview with Slate on Sunday, Garen Wintemute, a professor of emergency room medicine and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, revealed why gun research is such an uphill battle in the U.S. While guns claim 30,000 lives a year and injure 75,000, “federal funding for research is less than $200,000 a year,” he told Tiffany O’Callaghan. “In contrast, public health research on motor vehicle accidents—which also claim 30,000 lives each year—receives close to $4 million.”
This is not an accident—it is a result of a deliberate lobbying effort begun in the mid-1990s, Dr. Wintemute said. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon:
“There is a proposal in Congress to allow for $10 million in research funding. But I suspect it essentially has no chance of making it. Even if it did, our Department of Health and Human Services prohibits any of the funds from being used, and I’m quoting directly here, “to advocate or promote gun control.” That means even if I had money to do the research, it would be a crime to talk about the policy implications.”
According to Dr. Wintemute, disarming society isn’t an option—there are 300 million firearms in circulation. What works are background checks—specifically, weeding out those who are prohibited from owning firearms, such as people with a history of violent misdemeanors and alcohol abuse.
If you are interested in seeing how many people died from gun violence in your city or state, here is the link to the entire Gun Report article.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

It's Always About the Money

When trying to understand why somebody does something, or especially trying to understand government or business decisions, my husband has a theory that holds up most of the time: It's always about the money.  Try it, see for yourself.

In California, the Legislature has made a very sensible decision that will benefit a lot of people, but, as usual, it's about the money.  The New York Times Editorial Board wrote this summary:

"The California Legislature passed a bill last month that bars government agencies from asking job applicants about criminal convictions until the agency has determined that the applicant meets minimum qualifications for the job. This measure will help remove unfair barriers to employment that keep millions of qualified workers trapped at the margins of society. Gov. Jerry Brown should sign this sensible bill.

This measure follows a good trend of policy makers’ starting to recognize that locking ex-offenders out of the job market is a bad idea. Without the ability to find work, many newly released prisoners are likely to fall back into behavior that will land them back in jail."

California has been broke for so long that they are finally realizing that if all those people who were sent to jail on non-violent drug possession charges when they were 18 could now get real jobs instead of working part-time for minimum wage, the state would gain more tax dollars.  Wonder why it took them so long to figure out that it costs the state money to incarcerate these kids, but it gains the state dollars when they can be productive citizens.

Truth Will Reveal Itself

The truth will always make itself known.  When I was younger and less wise and patient, I would argue my point of view or my opinion to the point of being extremely annoying.  I finally realized that this was a non-productive approach, especially with my husband and children.  I know people now who haven't figured this out and it's frustrating to have a conversation when we don't totally agree on everything.

I wish I could convince the Republicans in Washington to back away, wait and see, and have faith that if "Obamacare" is as dangerous as they think it is, the truth will become obvious in a very short while.  And, if they are right, the people will be marching in the streets for changes or repeal.  However, if they are wrong and everyone is happy with the Affordable Care Act, then they can hope no one remembers how wrong they were.

So, next time you find yourself arguing about something, stop and ask yourself if this is something that you can trust truth to reveal itself.