Monday briefing and open thread

“Getting a gun license could be made as difficult as getting a license to fly an airplane, requiring dozens of hours of training. I would certainly be happy to see policy changes like this. In that respect, I support much stricter gun laws. But I am under no illusions that such restrictions would make it difficult for bad people to acquire guns illegally. Given the level of violence in our society, the ubiquity of guns, and the fact that our penitentiaries function like graduate schools for violent criminals, I think sane, law-abiding people should have access to guns. In that respect, I support the rights of gun owners.” – Sam Harris

That one is from Sam Harris, in his post, The Riddle of the Gun. It’s a good article, but forgive me for saying that it’s just too long for my taste. I appreciate articles that are thought-provoking, but I prefer not to have each thought spelled out for me. Nevertheless I recommend it for its honesty in admitting that we just don’t know what the hell to do about gun violence. And I appreciate anyone who recognizes that we can exercise our rights in such a way that protects society, unlike the scrotes commenting here who think that public has no right to protect itself from the unfettered 2nd Amendment & God given right to acquire tools of mass destruction.

Moving on,

By Rick Albin
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic leader in the Michigan Senate, is the guest on this episode of To The Point, Jan. 6, 2013.

To The Point: Sen. Gretchen Whitmer

Fox’s Krauthammer: Boehner Was Right To Cancel Vote On Sandy Relief Bill, Which Was “A Rape Of The Treasury” – There’s really no good quote to pull out of that clip. At about :45 he says that the bill was a “rape of the treasury.” I’m not going to get mired down in what was in the bill; I’m just flabbergasted that the Republicans / Conservatives can’t stay away from the word rape. What the hell?

Remember when Bobby Brown learned the word “perogative” and made a whole song out of it? I think that’s what’s happening to the Republicans. They’ve learned the word “rape” and now they are using it in every sentence they can.

Or more likely, Frank Lutz told them to use the word “rape” in every possible context, so that people become desensitized. “You don’t need no abortion just cuz you was raped, the gubmint rapes the treasury all the time!”

Speaking of rape, here’s an article that doesn’t have the word “rape” in it but is still quite offensive: Catholic priest: women bring sexual violence on themselves

How often do we see girls and mature women going around scantily dressed and in provocative clothes?
They provoke the worst instincts, which end in violence or sexual abuse. They should search their consciences and ask: did we bring this on ourselves?

I don’t know whether you’re a queer or not, but what do you feel when you see a naked woman?”

Holy crap.


Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder awakens sleeping giant

With that kind of language, you may think this is about right to work. But it isn’t.

I am disgusted and disappointed that you chose to sign either of the “abortion” bills conceived and presented by the current Michigan Legislature.

You have now awakened a sleeping giant: the women of this state. We will fight to have you replaced in 2014. As supporters of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood, we will take this fight to the people that are totally affected by your decision — the women.

Did your party learn nothing from the recent election? Obviously not. What is up with the GOP? Do all of you men think that we women are stupid? All over this country, women want the GOP to keep their theocracy out of our democracy.

That’s right; there was more than one sleeping giant in Michigan.

What the FBI’s Occupy Docs Do—And Don’t—Reveal

The documents also don’t provide much evidence that federal officials attempted to suppress protesters’ free speech rights. To the contrary, on several occasions they recommend a subdued police response. As FBI spokesman Paul Bresson told CNN, “While the FBI is obligated to thoroughly investigate any serious allegations involving threats of violence, we do not open investigations based solely on First Amendment activity. In fact, the Department of Justice and the FBI’s own internal guidelines on domestic operations strictly forbid that.”

We still do not have anything approaching a complete picture of federal authorities’ efforts taken to monitor and police the Occupy movement. And it would not be surprising to find that the surveillance of Occupy infringed on protesters’ civil liberties (nothing new in the history of American protest movements). However, that story can’t be told with the small cache of documents released so far.

More on FBI / Occupy:

Back to Michigan: Lou Glazer: Improving Michigan’s business climate may not yield dividends some expect .. a Q & A on business climate vs standard of living. Again it’s data driven, which means that Republicans will not understand it.

Q: Are there policy initiatives that improve a state’s ranking on lists that measure business costs but actually depress the state’s overall standard of living?

A: If you look at that list of the top-10 states in private sector employment earnings per capita — Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Illinois, Delaware, Colorado and California — there are no right-to-work states. Except for New Hampshire and Colorado, maybe, nobody would classify those states as low-tax states, either.

My new best friend:

Census Daily Monday, January 7th. During the Revolutionary War, the rebelling colonies and the Continental Congress were anything but too big to fail. To the contrary, finances were very spotty and precarious. To help put affairs in order and make credit available, the first commercial bank in the U.S. opened this day in 1782, just a week after being chartered by the Congress. Called the Bank of North America, it was capitalized at $400,000. The names of founding stockholders read like a list of our Founding Fathers: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe, John Jay, and John Paul Jones. Today there are over 91,000 commercial banking establishments in the U.S.


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