Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: December 2005 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Guns don't kill people, drunk teenagers with guns do...

Teen dies after being shot at party

Another senseless death from a firearm. No one meant any harm. No one was attempting to hurt or kill another human being. Just a situation out of control, and a handgun happened to be there, and now a teenager is dead.

A teenager. Someone whose life was just beginning to bloom. Possibly a future leader - someone who could have done some good. Sure, he was at a teenage party where drinking was involved. But I'm sure there were plenty of similar situations in our current president's adolescence (and well into his adult years as well).

The difference here is that a firearm was involved. The news reports say that the kids found the gun. If that's the case, it was there because someone felt it was necessary to have a gun handy. For protection. In rural southeast Texas where, apparently, roving bands of hoodlums prowl for innocent victims to rob, pillage, rape and loot.

This was most likely a case of a firm believer in the second ammendment, where someone felt unsafe and used his god-given right to brandish a weapon against ne'er-do-wells and protect his property against godless minorities who have infiltrated his sanctuary from modern society. He just happened to leave it laying around where kids could find it.

Let's face it - teenage drinking parties have been around for decades. But the ones I remember may have included a few fistfights and some dissing of the less-than-popular, but they never included handguns. Even the the rural ones. Now it seems that the paranoid feel that guns are a necessary part of life, both urban and rural, and the stakes have been raised.

Now those who have been dissed have access to a more equitable equalizer than just the typical ambushing of their antagonists. This is the root of the school massacres that have plagued us in the past few decades. No longer do they need to face their antagonists with untrained fists. Now they can even the playing field with artillery, thanks to the right-to-bear-arms wingnuts who insist that it's everyone's right to as much firepower as they can afford.

The sportsmen say that they need automatic weapons for hunting, but if you need twenty rounds per second to kill a deer, I say you need to find another hobby. Homeowners say you need an automatic handgun for security, but if that's the case, you need to move to a different neighborhood.

This particular death would not have happened had not the firearm been available.

Someone may have ended up with a black eye, instead of his life being snuffed out.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Chrismahannukwanzaakuh to all!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Same old song and dance

Bush on Iraq offensive, cites 'tangible progress'

Bush is in the middle of his traveling roadshow to bolster support for his war in Iraq because his administration is heartened by an increase in his approval rating in the NYT/CBS News poll. Woo Hoo! Finally more that a third of the country thinks he's fit for the job he was re-elected to last year.

He's up to 40% now, so what does he do with his newfound "political capital"? He goes on the road and spouts the same old rhetoric he's been spewing since he declared "mission accomplished" in 2003. But now his cheerleading is tempered with some acknowledgement of his cluelessness.

"Reconstruction has not always gone as well as we had hoped, primarily because of the security challenges on the ground," Bush said.

Meaning basically that his administration had no plans beyond the "Shock and Awe" stage of the invasion. Apparently they didn't anticipate any opposition once they pounded Bagdad into rubble.

He left some bits out, though. Conspicuously absent was any mention of the resumption of oil production that his administration claimed would fund reconstruction. Current production is at about 1.8 million barrels a day, far short of the 2.4 - 3.0 million barrels a day predicted by VP Dick Cheney in 2003, which would have generated $20 Billion annually to help pay for reconstruction.

Instead, we get to foot the bill. You break it, you bought it, right? Only we don't get to keep it. Once it's fixed, we give it back to what will most likely be a theocracy, and within a decade Iraq will be right back where they started before we stepped in, just with new players.

Not only that, but the bill will be padded.

Democrats in Congress criticized the administration's oversight of the rebuilding effort, noting Wednesday that nearly two-thirds of the $20.9 billion earmarked for reconstruction was unspent or directed to other programs.

Uncalculated billions have been lost to waste and fraud, Democrats said.

"America's troops and taxpayers have paid an enormous price for the Bush administration's continued missteps and mistakes in Iraq, and we cannot continue to blindly pay it," Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said.

Bush also changed his wording slightly, no longer calling the opposition "insurgents" or "rebels". His staff doesn't want to give them any semblance of humanity. So now he calls them exclusively "terrorists" or - this one kills me - "Saddamists". Despite all evidence to the contrary, his administration is still trying to tie Saddam Hussein to Al-Qaeda. Hussein is gone, Al-Qaeda is supporting the insurgency and supplying funding and car bomb fodder, yet I didn't hear them mentioned in his speeches. No, they're Saddamists, as if they were there supporting him before our invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"Victory will be achieved when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks against our nation," Bush said.

And so we're back to the same old song and dance. If we don't continue this war, Iraq will once again be a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks against our nation. Never mind that the last attack was done by Saudis and plotted not in Iraq, but Afghanistan and even within our own country by friends and former business associates of our fearless leader.

The lyrics have changes slightly, but the song remains the same. Never mind the facts. Believe what I say or you won't be safe. And we all know what happended the last time he said that.

Friday, December 02, 2005

And the winner is...

Left leaning bloggers have chosen the Texan of the Year, and it's... a Republican.

Now, before you go thinking that the tide that's turning against the right wing theocracy is turning again, keep in mind that the Texan of the Year is not an endorsement, it's a collectively objective opinion as to who has been most influencial on politics in Texas, regardless of party or the direction that their influence has taken.

Other Republicans were nominated, such as Tom DeLay and G.W. Bush, but I'm happy that if a Republican won it, it was Rep. Carter Casteel. Although she's in the wrong party, and from an 80% Republican district, she had the cojones to stand up to the lemmings and fight for reform in public schools rather than cave to the voucher faction.

Any social economist (except those in the employ of the right wing spin machine) will tell you that the education of ALL citizens is vital to a healthy society. However, those in favor of class distinction - with elite and servant classes widely seperated in the social spectrum - insist that their children be subsidized in their private schools. Rep. Casteel adamantly opposes this, and for that she should be commended.

She also voted against preventing gays from becoming foster parents, despite being from a conservative district. Now that's cojones.

Congratulation to Rep. Casteel, and thanks to the folks at Pinkdome for putting this election together. I'll be adding them to my blogroll for your future education and enjoyment.

Others who were instrumental in this election include:

Back in the saddle again...

I guess I can leave you guys alone for a minute without things getting mucked up. I took off for my periodic escape from civlization to ommune with nature - cooking Thanksgiving dinner in a makeshift oven in the ground and generally abandoning electronic entertainment and communication - fully expecting apocolyptic conditions upon my return.

But lo and behold, Tom DeLay is still under investigation. Bush's approval rating is still dropping, and he devoted a state of the disunion address to defending his war in Iraq without really saying anything new. And the Texans still can't win football games.

Although I am sorry I missed the election for Texan of the Year. But I think my fellow bloggers have handled it admirably in my absence, and they really didn't agree with my nomination anyway. But every election needs a Pat Paulsen for comic relief, right? And I still think Kinky Friedman would make a better governor than any of the other frontrunners out there.

Anyway, I'm back now, and ne'er-do-wells are again not safe to run amok with our liberties without scathing criticism from yours truly. I don't know if it'll make a difference, but it's kinda like singing a bar of "Alice's Restaraunt" in front of the draft board. If enough people do it, it'll become a movement. And if you want to end war and stuff, you gotta sing loud. With feeling.