Monday, December 31, 2012

Noting, On New Year's Eve, Some Proposed OWI Reforms

Though I wish they would go further and make every first-offense OWI conviction a consequential misdemeanor, I am glad to again publicize OWI reform efforts by Republican State Sen. Alberta Darling, (River Hills) and State Rep. Jim Ott:

Ott and Darling said this time they'll try to make first-time offenders with blood alcohol contents of 0.15% or more - "super drunks" - guilty of a crime; require first-time offenders to appear in court even if they're tagged with a civil violation; make a third offense a felony; and allow judges to order police to seize third-time offenders' cars. Also on tap are mandatory minimum sentences for drunken drivers involved in crashes that result in injuries or death.
Here we are on New Year's Eve, traditionally a time of drinking-and-driving tragedy. Let's hope everyone gets home safely tonight - - and that legislators of both parties, along with the Governor, resolve in 2013 to find some backbone on this basic matter.

Toughening Wisconsin's weak, drunken-driving-enabling laws on behalf of safer driving and achieving better treatment for addicted drivers should be a non-partisan matter, approved by a unanimous Legislature - - regardless of the opposition of tavern and liquor lobbies .

I've campaigned on this blog repeatedly for toughened OWI laws and better alcohol treatment, and publicized OWI reform proposals by Darling, Ott and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, too:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

WI Needs Non-Partisan Push For Tougher OWI Penalties In Lax Wisconsin

...I will be glad to promote stronger laws proposed by Republicans State Rep. Jim Ott and State Sen. Albert Darling, and by the Milwaukee Sheriff, David Clarke, as outlined in this Journal Sentinel story.

Darling wants to make felony charges available to prosecutors more quickly for repeat Wisconsin OWI offenders, and Clarke wants Wisconsin to join all other states in criminalizing a first offense.

The reformers also want more treatment, and I'm completely on board with that, too. It's obviously a long, hard slog and sell in Wisconsin, and good ideas need support even if the pace of change is slow.
More than four years ago I had this to say:

Let's make a first OWI a misdemeanor instead of a ticket, and move a second OWI from misdemeanor to felony - - and add mandatory vehicle seizure for a repeat offender, too.
In 2009, I wrote:
Until Wisconsin joins the other 49 states and criminalizes a first-offense, everything else is window-dressing.
Also needed: making a second offense a felony, and providing widespread drunk-driving education and treatment.
And in 2011, when the Legislature caved to special interests, I wrote:
Another effort is underway to put Wisconsin in line with the other 49 states and make first-offense drunk driving more than the mere ticket it is now.

I've lost track of the number of times I have argued for this on my blog for years.
Make this a bi-partisan and non-partisan effort. Let's slam the door on the lobbyists, get drunk drivers off the roads, protect the public and help problem drinkers repair their lives.

Move Over, Usual GOP Suspects

There's a new, most loathsome Republican in town:

John Bolton:

A cable-news quip by Fox News contributor John Bolton is looking even more dubious following yesterday’s news that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had checked in to New York Presbyterian Hospital to treat a blood clot associated with a concussion she’d sustained earlier in December.

That concussion kept Clinton from appearing at a Dec. 20 congressional hearing on Benghazi, a set of circumstances that triggered a certain meter of Bolton’s. In a Dec. 17 appearance on Fox News’s “On the Record,” he said:
Well, I think she will have to testify at some point. You know, every foreign service officer in every foreign ministry in the world knows the phrase I am about to use. When you don’t want to go to a meeting or conference or an event you have a “diplomatic illness.” And this is a diplomatic illness to beat the band.

Fiscal Cliff Time Clock Appropriate

The Journal Sentinel's home page has an electronic Fiscal Cliff countdown clock ticking down to midnight Eastern time.

Appropriate on New Year's Eve, as it also will track the Times Square countdown and House Republicans, with an ineffectual Speaker, dropping the ball, too.

Forced Road-Building Part Of Waukesha's Dominion Over Neighboring Town

Regional cooperation, Waukesha-style:

The City of Waukesha has pushed hard, with aid from the state DNR and regional planning body, (SEWRPC), to use Lake Michigan water as leverage over the smaller, more rural Town of Waukesha - - and now road-building into the Town backed by the City is being added to the pressure:

City, county give thumbs up to West Waukesha bypass

Town of Waukesha vehemently says 'no'

Town residents argued that their voice needs to be heard since they said a majority of the bypass will reside in the town and that it would ruin the town's rural atmosphere, be a noise nuisance and that it would not be a financial benefit to them
I noted this here more than two years ago:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Water, Highway Decisions/Spending Will Fuel Waukesha Sprawl

Waukesha County, where small-government, fiscally-conservative politics are said to be the norm, is about to absorb multiple government actions and spending that will direct where population expansion - - thus construction, development, traffic and demands for taxpayer-paid services - - will take place.

The drivers of this process will be a) expanded water service from a possible Lake Michigan diversion (estimated cost, $164 million), and b) highway expansion in the form of the West Waukesha Bypass (about $50 million expected).

Stretch Your 2nd Amendment Imagination: There Is An American Silencer Association

And the NRA is down with its goal: the proliferation of silencers to desensitize children to the firearms' noise and protect shooters' hearing:

“Billions of dollars are spent every year in our healthcare system for hearing loss conditions, such as shooting-related tinnitus,” explained the NRA.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Prayers For Hillary; Will The Fox Haters Apologize?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is hospitalized with a blood clot and other unspecified issues after her recent concussion  - - for which she was needlessly and heedlessly pilloried.

Simple summary here, from Nicholas Krostof The NY Times, via Twitter:

Here are Fox News "journalists" suggesting that Hillary Clinton's concussion was faked:
Hannity, Krauthammer joined in, plus there was this:
Fox's Special Report was next to take a stab at Clinton. A regular Fox News guest and contributor to the show, Charles Krauthammer, claimed Clinton is "suffering from acute Benghazi allergy which causes lightheadedness when she hears the word 'Benghazi.'"
More from her office, through the Washington Post: 

"...Secretary Clinton’s doctors discovered a blood clot had formed, stemming from the concussion she sustained several weeks ago. She is being treated with anti-coagulants and is at New York-Presbyterian hospital so that they can monitor the medication over the next 48 hours.
“Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion. They will determine if any further action is required.”

Imagine If Wisconsin Needs Emergency Aid, And...

God forbid that the drought here gets worse - - killing crops, crushing farmers and further evaporating a Lake Michigan in record-decline - - or that Asian carp break free into the Great Lakes, or a super storm devastates a portion of the state (see tornado, Joplin, or flooding, 2010) - - and Sen. Scrooge McGrinch, a/k/a Ron Johnson has to ask his colleagues from Hurricane Sandy-ravaged, still-recovering New York and New Jersey for relief-measure votes.

His colleagues might also remember his 2011 vote against major disaster relief funding:

Sept. 15, 2011 S Amdt 602 Emergency Disaster Relief Appropriations Amendment Adopted - Senate
(62 - 37)

Don't be surprised if they tell RoJo to check his bootstraps. and his voting record.

Ron Johnson To New York And New Jersey: Float Away

He did not join 12 GOP Senators approving a relief package for battered East Coast cities and states.  More, here.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Highway Mayhem Highlights A Boozy Culture

We learned today there had been the 37th Milwaukee-area wrong-way driving incident (most were alcohol-related) just this year  - - a crash that injured several innocent motorists and caused by a suspected drunk driver - - and we also learned that a Milwaukee County Deputy Sheriff was injured when his squad car was rear-ended by another suspected drunken driver in a separate crash.

The State of Wisconsin regularly shows up at or near the top of rankings of drunken driving, fatal crash - - like the OWI allegation in the Christmas Eve Kewaskum fatal crash - - and binge drinking by residents (see relevant links in a separate blog post, here.)

And we're the only state in the nation that gives apprehended first-offense drunk driving motorists only a traffic ticket instead of a misdemeanor arrest. In other words, it's not a crime to drive drunk in Wisconsin until you are caught twice.

We tolerate an intolerable amount of dangerous behavior on our local roads and higher-speed Interstate or freeway segments.

"We're in denial here" isn't a state credo to brag about, and repeated images of wrong-way wreckage will wear down efforts to market the region as a good place to live, work and play.

Water Business Group Disses Milwaukee

Remember the Milwaukee Water Council, the business booster group that touted the region and which city officials helped to acquire a sweet piece of land near the Harley-Davidson Museum for an office park and showcase world headquarters?

All to enhance our opportunities as a water hub and help give Milwaukee a cutting-edge, fresh, clean and green brand?

Well, you can call it just the Milwaukee Water Council now. Break out your bowling shirts and bring back Laverne and Shirley, aina:

The Milwaukee Water Council, the trade group that aims to coax new jobs and investment from the water technology industries of southeastern Wisconsin and change the region's rust belt image in the process, quietly has dropped the word "Milwaukee" from its formal name.
...the work of the Water Council has become global in its nature and the organization wants to jettison anything that smacks of provincialism, [Executive Director Dean] Amhaus said.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Bringing The Second Amendment To Life

The NRA wants armed guards posted in schools.

Some of those schools are true campuses and are spread across multiple buildings and many acres.

That's tens of thousands of armed guards.

The NRA says it will help find volunteers among retired military personnel and peace officers to help carry out this mission.

In other words - - The NRA is calling for the creation of a militia - - which gun manufacturers, lobbies and supporters of all kinds will say springs from and thus reifies the Second Amendment.

In other words, a self-fulfilling, validating road to an even further armed, danger-laden society.

As well-intentioned as NRA volunteers may be - - count me out.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Freedom And Guns

A few coincidences in the spate of news about guns, violence and freedom:

*  You've got your US Second Amendment Freedom to own, carry and sell firearms.

*  The major supplier, of late, being the once-obscure (but no more, post-Newtown) Freedom Group:

In recent years, many top-selling brands — including the 195-year-old Remington Arms, as well as Bushmaster Firearms and DPMS, leading makers of military-style semiautomatics — have quietly passed into the hands of a single private company. It is called the Freedom Group — and it is the most powerful and mysterious force in the American commercial gun industry today.
*  Then you've got your in-chaos, DC-based Tea Party group FreedomWorks - - not to be confused with Freedom Group - - where former US House of Representatives Leader Dick Armey showed up recently and tried to seize control - - true story, not from The Onion - -  and was accompanied by a gun-toting aide.

Exercising, was the aide, his NRA-protected, Second Amendment-guaranteed freedom to carry a firearm - - but not one of Freedom Group's many brands because it does not yet own a handgun line.


Freedom Group manufactures and sells a number of well-known so-called "long gun" brands - - Winchester, Remington, Marlin - - and the now-infamous Bushmaster, whose military-style, semi-automatic military-style rifles were used in the DC sniper, Newtown grade school, Portland shopping mall and upstate New York firefighter mass shootings, according to media and law enforcement accounts.

Freedom being just a word for nothing else to looe, only in song.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Journal Sentinel Captures Essence Of WI Mining Bill Dispute

Great piece by Lee Bergquist.

Note that while industry claims the bill it helped the GOP-led Assembly write protects the environment, a non-partisan State Legislative body says otherwise:

As environmentalists see it, an analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Council, the research arm of the Legislature, cites numerous examples where safeguards would be rolled back by this year's mining bill.
But Scott Manley, a lobbyist with Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, sees it differently.
"When you look at the totality of what is being proposed here, it is a very robust set of regulations that protect the environment," he said.
So do you believe, Bucky: a trade association lobbyist, or the non-partisan Legislative body?

Scott Walker, NRA Have History Of Mutual Aid

National Rifle Association member Scott Walker has:

* Received an "A+" rating from the NRA, the group says. 

* Benefited from heavy NRA spending in Wisconsin to weaken Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, helping to pave the way for Walker's successful 2010 run.

* Stood with NRA Vice-President Wayne LaPierre at the concealed carry bill signing - - a long-sought measure for Wisconsin by both Walker and the NRA.

* Met Ted Nugent at a recent NRA convention and touted the signing of the so-called "Castle Doctrine" bill for Wisconsin, another NRA priority measure.

* Asked NRA convention delegates in 2012 for recall campaign donations, saying "I have become a target" and "they want to take me out."

* Enjoyed more than $800,000 in NRA spending during the recall election.

* Continued, after the Newtown, CT shootings, to oppose closing gun-show loophole allowing private gun sales without background checks, and said he's open to stationing armed officers in every school - - both key NRA positions.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

NY Ex-Con Used Bushmaster Semi-Auto Rifle To Shoot Firefighters

He joins a national murders Hall of Shame - - the DC snipers, the 2007 Colorado New Life Church spree killer, the Newtown school mass murderer, the Portland mall shooter - - whose use of a Bushmaster military-style semi-automatic rifle (sample below)
bushmaster_ar15_carbine mocks existing gun laws and common sense.

Monday, December 24, 2012

US Gun, Violence Data

This site aggregates data and cites its sources. Here is the full text of its posting:

Some Indicative Data:

Gun Ownership
  • The US has an estimated 283 million guns in civilian hands
  • Each year about 4.5 million firearms, including approximately 2 million handguns, are sold in the United States
  • An estimated 2 million second hand firearms are sold each year
  • The percentage of American households with a gun has been steadily declining (high of 54% in 1977 to 33% in 2009)
  • The average number of guns per owner has increased from 4.1 in 1994 to 6.9 in 2004.
Sources: Injury Prevention (2007); ATF (2000); National Opinion Research Center (2008); Pew Research Center (2009)

Gun Deaths:

More than 30,000 people are killed by firearms each year in this country
More than 30 people are shot and murdered each day
1/2  of them are between the ages of 18 and 35
1/3 of them are under the age of 20
Homicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-24 year-olds
And the primary cause of death among African Americans of that age group

Gun Homicides (average annually):

Less than 50: Japan
Less than 150:  Germany, Italy, France, etc.
Less than 200:  Canada
More than 10,000: USA
Source: IANSA (International Action Network on Small Arms of the United Nations)

Injuries and Deaths from Guns

Everytime a gun injures or kills in self-defense, one is used:
  • 11 times for a completed or attempted suicide
  • 7 times in a criminal assault or homicide
  • 4 times in an unintentional shooting death or injury
Source: Journal of Trauma, injury, Infection and Critical Care (1998)

Per Capita Annual Gun Death Rate (per 100,000 population):

Highest:  Louisiana (19.04, 45.6% households contain guns)
#25:  Pennsylvania (10.90)
Lowest: CT, NY, New Jersey (4.99), RI, MA, Hawaii (2.20)
National: (10.32)
Source: Centers for Disease Control

Costs of Gun Violence
  • Gun violence impacts society in many ways: medical costs, costs of the criminal justice system, security precautions such as metal detectors, and reductions in the quality of life because of fear of gun violence.
  • U.S. lifetime medical costs for gunshot injuries total an estimated $2.3 billion
  • U.S. taxpayers pay for almost half ($1.1 billion or 49%) of lifetime medical costs for gunshot injuries
Guns Recovered from Crime
  • Only 1% of gun dealer account for almost 60% of crime guns recovered by police and later traced
  • In one year, at least 30,000 guns were “lost” out of gun dealers inventories
  • Guns with a short “time to crime” are disproportionately represented among crime guns.  Guns manufactured and sold 3 years or less, prior to recopvery by police in crime make up 34 % of recovered and traced crime guns, but only 14% of the US gun stock.
  • Guns sold as part of a multiple sale at a gun dealer were up to 64% more likely to be used in a crime than guns not part of such sales.
  • “No background check” sales account for an estimated 40% of gun sales in the U.S.
Sources: ATF (2000); Brady Center; National Institute of Justice (1993, 2007); Police Foundation (1997)

Distance From Legal Point of Purchase to Crime Recovery:

Within 10 miles More than 100 miles
Philadelphia 61.2% 18.1%
Pittsburgh 62.9% 12.6%
Newark 9.1% 81.5%
New York City 4.4% 83%
Source:  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

Percent of Recovered Crime Guns First Legally Purchased In-State:

Pennsylvania:  78%
New Jersey:  27%  (18% from PA)
New York:  28%
Source:  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

Some Interesting Poll Data

77% of NRA members favor a waiting period for purchase of a handgun
82% of American support limiting the sales of military-style assault weapons
94% of police chiefs favor requiring a background check for all handgun sales.
Support for background checks on private gun sales, including gun shows:
  • 87% of American
  • 83% of gun owners
  • 69% of NRA gun-owners
Support for limiting handgun sales to one per person per month:
  • 65% of Americans
  • 59% of gun owners
Support for registration of handguns
  • 79% of Americans
  • 69% of police chiefs
  • 61% of gun owners
  • 59% of NRA members
Sources: CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll (2008); Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (2008); Mayors Against Illegal Guns (2009); National Opinion research Center (2003); American Journal of Preventative Medicine (2006); Violence & Victims (1993)

Who Will Propose Arming Fire Fighters?

Now that, in this Year of the Shooter, fire fighters responding to a fire have been shot and killed in NY state: Will every hook-and-ladder have a trained police officer positioned in a turret behind a .50 cal. machine-gun? Can you picture fire fighters wearing body armor, or dropping their gloves to reach for their sidearms?

WEBSTER, N.Y. — Four volunteer firefighters responding to a pre-dawn house fire were shot Monday morning, two fatally, leading to a shootout in suburban Rochester, N.Y., police said.

“One or more shooters” fired at the firefighters after they arrived shortly after 5:30 a.m. at the blaze near the Lake Ontario shore, just east of Rochester, Town of Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said.
Church worshippers, movie goers, teens walking home, day spa employees and customers, teems listening to music in cars, teachers, first-graders, fire fighters...

Are there enough guns to insure everyone's safety - - from guns and their owners - - in this already-armed society with half the world's firearms - - or already too many guns?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bice Tracks $1.4 Million + In Recent NRA - - WI Donations

Think Scott Walker will ever veer from the NRA line, regardless of the number of guns victims?

Dan Bice tracks the hundred of thousands of reasons why that will never happen, along with other jaw-dropping money trails from the NRA into the Wisconsin political environment:

The NRA's political and corporate arms dropped $815,660 in independent expenditures in Wisconsin to help Walker defeat Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in an unprecedented recall election in June, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign...

The recall race isn't the only Wisconsin election in which the NRA was a major player.
According to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, the gun group coughed up $571,000 in independent expenditures to try to help Republican candidate Tommy Thompson in his failed bid to defeat Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin for an open U.S. Senate seat.
Other direct NRA donations to Walker and Thompson put the total over $1.4 million. 

The Fake: Closing The Book On Romney Campaign

Son Tagg says Dad never really wanted to be President. Take a bow, American people - - this one we got right:

“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” said Tagg, who worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

From The Party That Brayed About, And Brought You Voter 'Fraud'...

A new scheme: just flat-out steal elections by changing the long-standing Electoral College rule - - that if you win the majority of the votes in your state, you get all the state's Electoral College Votes.

Winner take all.

Now Republicans, having lost twice to Obama, but also having gerrymandered Congressional seats in 2010 to created majority of safe GOP seats, now want to award Electoral votes by Congressional district - - changing the rules just to serve their temporary legislative majorities.

Had the GOP rule change been in effect in 2012, Obama would have beaten Romney in the state popular vote - -  but Romney would have been awarded five of nine Wisconsin electoral votes.

And here's the GOP's telegraphed tell for the scheme - - the warning for the rest of us from these people who keep losing Presidential elections because their message and policies are backward-looking:

Walker's position:

Walker open to changing state's Electoral College allocations

Really? Open to...

Stop with the fake understatement and pose.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gunman Commits Murder In PA Church, So Ask Mike Huckabee...

Is this because God was taken out of the church?

Story about the PA shootings, here.

On School Gun Violence, NRA Shooting Blanks

So the NRA makes a grieving nation wait a week to hear its big gun-violence proposal, and it' armed police officer in every school.

What a non-starter. It's too kind to call it a joke. Insult is more appropriate.

Consider that with salary, benefits, equipment and training, each officer is about a $100,000 a-year expense.

Oh, I see. The NRA wants the Congress to appropriate the money.

Right - - the Congress.  Do they read the papers over there at NRA Central?

The Congress - - that the Right is always accusing of spending other people's money?

Milwaukee Public Schools has more than 200 schools in its system, so you tell me: where are all those fresh millions of dollars a year coming from?

Or does the NRA want to take 200+ beat cops - - about 10% of the force - -  off the streets in Milwaukee - - with similar ratios repeated in every municipality in America - - and out of their cruisers to sit in school offices all day, Monday-Friday, and, I assume, in the evenings on overtime when the schools are open for conferences, sports, science fairs and the like.

That's an expensive and wasteful system and 'solution" the NRA wants us taxpayers to pay for.

State Projects Walker Jobs Fail At About 50%

His signature 250,000 new jobs pledge will likely fail by about half, the state number-crunchers say.

This is no doubt the fault of Jim Doyle or Barack Obama.

And wasn't it just the other day that Walker claimed he created just under 100,000 new jobs?

NRA Dues Headed Up, I Guess

If is going to pay for an armed guard in every school.

Walker Opposed To Closing Guns Show Loophole

Disappointing, yes: surprising no, that Scott Walker continues to support the loophole in the weak gun laws on the books that allow private gun sales, without background checks, by vendors and individuals at guns shows.

Pure pandering to his base.

I've attended several gun shows when researching issues for newspaper and freelance projects, and I'd recommend it to anyone as a learning experience.

In addition to guns, ammo knives, clothing and miscellaneous paraphernalia for sale - - from private as well as licensed sellers --  you can count on tables full of T-shirts, buttons and bumper stickers bashing liberal politicians.

At the last show I attended in SE Wisconsin, I even saw one hand-written sign at a dealer table  that said "If you voted Democrat, don't even talk to me."

Another sign said "Obama will sign a treaty with the UN to bann [Sic] guns."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Boehner Goes Down

Obama outfoxes another Republican.

Stop The World, I Want To Get Off

That was one of my mother's expressions in the face of social madness, and I'll quote her again and again if Texas Cong. Louie ("Takes His Head Off") Gohmert or Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke's 'armed-guards-everywhere'' suggestions prevail.

And if parents can be stampeded into buying bullet-proof backpacks for their kids.

S. S. Badger Says It Intends To Sail Lake Michigan In 2013

Even though it did not change to a cleaner fuel source, or come up with an alternative to coal ash dumping into Lake Michigan in the four years that regulators gave the ship's owners to comply.

More than 30 posts on this blog about the matter, back to the spring of 2009:

...the pollution has been tolerated even though its reality has been known for years. I began checking into this a few years ago, and learned that the Wisconsin legislature gave the Badger a permanent exemption from the Clean Air Act - - but not the Clean Water Act.

See applicable state statute section 285.27 (3) here.

Why the exemption, and the long delay in any regulatory action to hold the ship to the same standards that one would apply to a coal-fired boiler on land forbidden from dumping its ash into the lake everyday - - for years, no doubt measured in tons.

Town Of Waukesha Further Squeezed On Water Hook-Up

I can't remember another Wisconsin community experiencing what the Town of Waukesha is being put through by other units of government.

People in the relatively small and still somewhat rural community bordering the county seat - - the City of Waukesha - - have to wonder what happened to home rule.

It all began a few years ago when the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC)- - an unelected body - - drew up a new regional water service map at the request of the City of Waukesha to include in the City's application for a diversion of Lake Michigan water.

SEWRPC put part of the Town in the territory map without the Town being consilted.

Meaning the Town would be in line to receive diverted water - - if the other Great Lakes states approve the diversion plan - - setting up all sorts of possibilities, outcomes and options for the Town including new water and infrastructure, customer and municipal costs, conservation requirements, legal responsibilities and water-fueled building, development or annexations.

The City wants the Town in the plan because it will buttress the plan to divert more water and have a hand in potential development across the municipal border.

And now the DNR has given the Town a deadline - - the end of January, 2013 - -to say if it is in or out of the application, as the City and DNR have decisions to make and questions to answer about  the scope of the diversion, the size of the return flow to Lake Michigan and all other legal, financial and environmental matters raised.

It's a helluva way to run a railroad, or a water supply system or to treat your neighbors, or to make important public policy and to forward, with credibility, the first such application of its kind to seven other states whose unanimous approval is needed to make it happen..

Worst Thing About Sheriff Clarke's Scattershot, Post-Newtown Rant

It isn't that he thinks people who favor more gun control are "sheep," or that he wants armed guards in every "public place"  - - schools, malls, theaters - - or that he made his views known on a Tea Party website.

And I don't mind the angry tone: He's reacting to a massacre. People should be passionate about that.

It's that he dragged into his posting so much self-defeating and extraneous ideological refuse that you weren't sure if the item was real, or a spoof from The Onion.

Clarke opened with "Shame on liberals," then sprinkled more slams at "liberals," or "the left" or "socialistic" or, even "green projects..." in what followed.

The italics are mine.

Shame on liberals for exploiting tragedy once again in our country and try to use tragedy as a reason to take our rights away.  Liberals are shameful.

We have to resist with the ferociousness of a junk yard dog, any, any attempt by liberals to make us less free by chipping away at our constitutional freedoms...
I’ll be willing to have a conversation with liberals about gun control in the same conversation we should have about whether government should restrict our first amendment right or how about whether we should scale back our fourth amendment rights, how about restricting our 14th amendment due process rights?
...Then let’s see what the left has to say about restricting our freedoms.
Liberals don’t care about curbing violence because if they did they wouldn’t coddle and call for more leniency for criminal perpetrators...

All the left is interested in is having the government control every aspect of our lives.  Calling for gun control is just another aspect of furthering their socialist agenda...

Do liberals really think that a sociopathic killer or even a hold-up man is not going to enter a place with a gun because a sign says guns prohibited?

...I have a better idea to all this run and hide advice.  An armed tactical trained officer or security officer in every school and public place (theaters, malls, etc) in America.  How are we going to pay for it?  With all the money we spend on “going green projects and other waste of money social service spending we do,,,

Senate Republicans, Out-Romneying Mitt, Cut Sandy Relief By More than 47%

GOP Senators OK with New York and New Jersey just floating away:

WASHINGTON — Republicans in the Senate, seeking to substantially trim a Hurricane Sandy aid package being sought by Democrats, are planning to unveil a $23.8 billion emergency spending plan to finance the recovery efforts of states devastated by the storm. 

The move by Republicans comes as the Senate has opened debate on a $60.4 billion aid bill brought by Democratic leaders. Democrats largely based their proposal on one that President Obama sent to Congress nearly two weeks ago.

California Teachers Were Gun Company Investors

Who at the California teachers pension system was so asleep-at-the-switch that it allowed an investment in a firm owning and buying up gun manufacturers - - including the maker of the very assault-style Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle used in the Connecticut school massacre?

And the teachers money was hardly peanuts:

The California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) committed to invest a whopping $500 million into a $7.5 billion Cerberus fund that has helped bankroll Freedom Group. That means that it effectively could own a 6.67% stake in the gun maker, which filed to go public in late 2009 before pulling the offering in early 2011. In fact, the figure could be even higher since CalSTRS also committed $100 million to a $1.4 billion predecessor fund, which likely made the original investment.
Granted the teachers pension system pressured the investment company to sell its controlling interest in the gun conglomerate - - Freedom Group - - and could take a loss, but how did the teachers group put itself in this position in the first place.

Freedom Group had gathered up Bushmaster, Marlin, Remington and other brands.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This Is Why I Donate To The Southern Poverty Law Center

It won a $4.5 million judgement today in favor of Filipino teachers recruited and basically indentured to Louisiana public schools.

The Post-Newtown Stupidity And Stereotyping Champion

Meet Charlotte Allen, posting for the conservative National Review, and called out for these gems:

There was not a single adult male on the school premises when the shooting occurred. In this school of 450 students, a sizeable number of whom were undoubtedly 11- and 12-year-old boys (it was a K–6 school), all the personnel — the teachers, the principal, the assistant principal, the school psychologist, the “reading specialist” — were female.
There didn’t even seem to be a male janitor to heave his bucket at Adam Lanza’s knees. Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass-murderers. The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, seemed to have performed bravely...
Some of the teachers managed to save all or some of their charges....But in general, a feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm.
Full posting, here.

Sheriff Clarke Omits Details From His Guns-In-Israel Account

Sheriff Clarke admired the presence of armed guards in Israel and an absence of what he called gun control "talk to prevent violence."

I was in Jerusalem last year.  You couldn’t go too far without seeing an Israeli border patrol agent, national police officer or security guard all armed with Uzi’s.  It was impressive and I felt safe.  They don’t talk about gun control in Israel to prevent violence.  They dare gun toting perps to bring it.
Two things:

Unlike here, Israel has extremely tight and tough controls on civilian ownership of guns, as this Jerusalem newspaper report explains:

Israeli gun control regulations 'opposite of US'

According to Yaakov Amit, the head of the Public Security Ministry’s Firearms Licensing Department, the difference between the gun laws in the US and Israel are as clear as night and day.
“There is an essential difference between the two. In America the right to bear arms is written in the law, here it’s the opposite... only those who have a license can bear arms and not everyone can get a license.”

Amit said gun licenses are only given out to those who have a reason because they work in security or law enforcement, or those who live in settlements “where the state has an interest in them being armed.”
And the story goes on to acknowledge a relationship between strict gun controls and reduced mass shootings:
Aside from Israel’s strict gun laws, reasons for the lack of mass shootings can be attributed to the country’s closely knit family structure, small size and intimacy and informality between strangers or the universal health care which makes mental health services available for all.
When asked why Israel doesn’t have such killings, Amit said “you can’t prevent this entirely. You can’t ensure that someone won’t someday go crazy and do something like this, but we do our best to prevent it from happening.”

Unacceptable Social Snapshot: US Gun Deaths To OvertakeTraffic Fatalities

Seat belts, air bags, generally safer vehicles and relentless public education have all reduced vehicle deaths in the US.

Gun deaths are headed in the opposite direction. Did you ever imagine you'd see this story and headline?

American Gun Deaths to Exceed Traffic Fatalities by 2015

Top WI Cops On Gun Control, After Newtown, In Their Own Words

The Wisconsin Attorney General and the Sheriffs of the two most-populous counties in the state have made statements about gun control in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings. It's an interesting and illuminating range of opinion. Here for your review, without editorial comment, are brief excerpts, with a link to the full statement, story or audio:

Wisconsin Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen:

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says lawmakers should think carefully about how they react to the recent tragedies. In an interview with WRN [Wisconsin Radio Network] on Tuesday, the attorney general said “it’s a bad idea to have quick knee jerk reactions” and lawmakers should not pass bills “just for the sake of feeling good about ourselves.” AUDIO: Attorney General Van Hollen (2:05)
Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney:
As sheriff, I also stand ready to work with state and national leaders to reduce firearms violence. Ninety-eight percent of Wisconsinites agreed in a 2003 poll that "No one should be allowed to buy a handgun without a background check to ensure they have no criminal record." Mandatory checks should be required for all firearm sales.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke:
All the left is interested in is having the government control every aspect of our lives. Calling for gun control is just another aspect of furthering their socialist agenda. All of these suggestions about the need for gun control are the mindset of sheep.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Questions Raised By Cathy Stepp's All-Employee Christmas Message

Cathy Stepp's "Christmas message" sent Monday across the DNR raises a few questions:

*  Though no doubt well-intentioned, is it appropriate for state public agency heads to send out Christmas messages?  

"Soon "we'll be connecting...for Holiday celebrations?" Check you calendar, Madame Secretary: Hanukah ended the night before your message. That's the kind of trouble you can get yourself into with conflating "Christmas" and "Holiday celebrations" at this time of year.

And, separately, on the environmental program side: is the "air as clean as it's been in Wisconsin in decades," as claimed? Sure did seem like there were a lot of dirty air alerts this year.

Some numbers in this report by the American Lung Association show some back-sliding in some particulate matter readings gathered for the Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, and Green Bay regions.

Anyway: here is the message, in full (bold-facing in the original):
From: Lamers, Holly J - DNR On Behalf Of Stepp, Cathy L - DNR
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2012 3:46 PM
Subject: Christmas Message

Dear Colleagues,

Soon we’ll all be connecting with family and friends for Holiday celebrations.  I wish you all safe travels and all the joy and fun the season has to offer.

It’s been a remarkable year for us. We’ve dealt with a devastating drought, and we’ve implemented a historic modern wolf hunt. Parks attendance is up, and more than 29,000 people came to the hunting community under the new hunter license. Air is as clean as it’s been in Wisconsin in decades.  We managed to have fewer than normal fires in Northern Wisconsin, in spite of the blowdown fuel on the ground. All over Wisconsin I am hearing rediscovered and sincere respect for the department and for your work. 

EVERY JOB in this agency contributes to our success, from helping customers in the call center, to getting staff on board and paying bills, checking air monitors, inspecting dams, and keeping our parks clean and inviting, to prescribed burns, banding wildlife, or stocking streams.  It is important for each of you to know we couldn’t do any of it without you and what you do every day.

I’ve said it many times, I am blessed to be able to lead this agency and be your colleague.  From the bottom of my heart – and from Gundy, Matt and the leadership team – have a wonderful holiday and thank you.  


P Cathy Stepp
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Wisconsin AG Blows Kiss To Gun Lobby

How far down the right-wing rabbit hole have GOP policy-makers dragged the State of Wisconsin?

This far: Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today attacked "knee-jerk" proposals that would ban the very type of semi-automatic rifle and high-capacity ammunition magazines used in the Newtown, CN shooting.

In an interview in the state Capitol on Tuesday, Van Hollen said some had taken a "knee-jerk" reaction to the news and that he wasn't convinced proposals to ban semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines would have made any difference in this case.
"I'm certainly not going to buy into that today...."
To the good people of Newtown: "we're sorry."

Alberta Darling, Again The Walker Meddler

Through, for the moment chasing 2012 phantom voting fraud and finding herself suddenly called off another voter suppression mission (ending same-day voting registration) by a slightly panicked Scott Walker, the River Hills Senate Republican displays again her robotic fealty to the boss by going after residency for teachers in Milwaukee.

More payback, revenge legislating designed to undermine labor and Democratic voters. And the Big City.

Also file at #regionalismdistorted.

More Access To Mental Health Services, Less Access To Weaponry

I am glad to see an emphasis on access to mental health services being added to a national conversation about stemming and preventing firearm violence.

And while I want to be optimistic about it, consider that right up until last Friday morning we were told by conservative opinion-makers:

1.  We are not all in this (the big "this") together;

2.  We need to trim back an already too-intrusive nanny state;

3.  Mental health treatment facilities or programs are too expensive and open to cuts (see 1, 2, above); 

4.  Higher education institutions should be re-oriented away from squishy social sciences and towards business or other more 'practical' majors the job-creators prefer.

I have life-long friends who have toiled in the mental health field. Everyone of them knows there has never been enough money to adequately address individual situations, or our communities' collective mental needs, or to pay trained counselors, social workers and other staffers competitive salaries.

There's a part of me that fears the gun lobby will distract us with a fresh emphasis on, or even a feigned interest, in vitally-important mental health care issues.

So prove me wrong: Let's have the gun lobby take the lead on lobbying for more financing for and universal access to mental health care services as part of a broader, safer-society blueprint that includes, for example, restrictions on the sale and importation of assault-style weapons, high-capacity magazines, and body armor for civilians.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Guns Put Children, Women At Greatest Risk

I wrote this for the Cap Times on 3/15/2004 when I was a monthly op-ed contributor.  If I could format a boxed inset, it would include these grafs:

Simply put: for every time a gun in or around the home was used in self-defense, or in a legally justified shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides. 

     That's one self-defense shooting for 22 accidental, suicidal or criminal shootings -- hardly support for the notion that having a gun handy makes people safer.

    Other studies show that women and children are disproportionately the victims of such gunshots, and that when children commit suicide, guns in their home or at their friends or relatives' homes are used.

     Gov. Jim Doyle's barely sustained veto of the bill to legalize the carrying of concealed weapons in Wisconsin guarantees that the gun lobby will push even harder for the right to put guns in wider circulation.

     Proponents and their mouthpieces in the Legislature have pledged to sweep opponents of concealed carry out of office. It's important for the opponents to hone their message because the National Rifle Association and pro-guns groups in Wisconsin have made concealed carry a top priority.

     One of the problems with the recent debate was its focus on whether states that have concealed carry laws have seen declining crime rates. Both sides cited studies that showed crimes either declining or increasing in concealed carry states.

     But there is no uniform scientific method to study crime occurrence, rates and trends. Time frames, databases, definitions and outside variables differ from state to state and from study to study, and the result is a fight among experts without a clear winner.

    The opponents of concealed carry, however, do have one irrefutable statistical and argumentative advantage. So remember these two questions and one number, and make it the core of opposing concealed carry:

     Q. Do guns that are available for self-defense make people safer?

     A. No.

     Q. How much less safe?

     A. 22 times less safe.

     A gun in the home -- thus available for self-defense -- is 22 times more likely to be used in an assault or homicide, an accidental shooting or a suicide or attempted suicide.

     Researchers reached this conclusion by studying hospital admissions, emergency medical technician reports, police and medical examiner files in 626 shootings in or around a residence in three cities: Galveston, Texas; Seattle, Wash.; and Memphis, Tenn., for between 12 and 18 months.

    The study was published in The Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection and Critical Care, in August 1998, by Dr. Arthur Kellerman of Emory University in Atlanta and four other authors. Their study was supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    In those shootings studied by Kellerman and the co-authors, only 13 were in self-defense or were legally justifiable, and that included three shootings by law enforcement officers acting in the line of duty.

    By contrast, 54 shootings were unintentional, 118 were attempted or completed suicides, and the vast majority of these shootings -- 438 -- were assaults or homicides.

     Simply put: for every time a gun in or around the home was used in self-defense, or in a legally justified shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.

     That's one self-defense shooting for 22 accidental, suicidal or criminal shootings -- hardly support for the notion that having a gun handy makes people safer.

    Other studies show that women and children are disproportionately the victims of such gunshots, and that when children commit suicide, guns in their home or at their friends or relatives' homes are used.

    These facts, the sad headlines, and the huge medical bills and family traumas behind them, are even more numbing when you consider that guns kept at home are supposed to be locked away to prevent their misuse.

    Common sense would dictate that a lethal weapon be kept secure and unavailable, but the rates of accidental and suicidal shootings suggest these guns are not kept under lock and key.

    Instead they are readily, and recklessly and painfully, available to the wrong hands -- which Kellerman and his colleagues showed happens -- by a factor of 22.

     Now consider that the gun lobby wants to make it legal to bring some of these guns out of the house, without a closet door or trigger lock to prevent their accidental or criminal use, and into the stresses and surprises of everyday life.

    Put those guns in someone's pocket, or in the car, or a briefcase, backpack or purse and you logically increase the likelihood that there will be an accidental or wrongful discharge. Such as a split-second and irrevocable pull of a trigger in response to a perceived threat or in a moment of road rage.

   Or when someone is handed a pink slip. Or in a domestic argument after one too many beers.

    * The core of the argument for concealed carry is that guns make people safer. The presence of guns in the home -- by a factor of 22 on the wrong side of the equation -- shows that firearms that could be used in self-defense actually make many more people unsafe, injured and dead.

    Isn't that number 22 already big enough?

Does Ron Johnson Still Believe 100-Shot Loads Are Constitutionally-Protected?

After Aurora, an unmoved Sen. Johnson still defined possessing high-capacity magazines as a matter of freedom.
Duly-noted here at the time:

Monday, July 23, 2012

WI Sen. Johnson Says 100-Round Ammo Clips Are A Freedom Right

Even for our one-note, smarts'-challenged RoJo, this is hitting bottom:
Tea party-backed Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) says that the right to own high-capacity ammunitions magazines like the 100-round drum that was used to kill at least a dozen people in Colorado last week is a “basic freedom” that is protected by the U.S. Constitution.
And after Newtown, where 20 school children and six adults' First Amendment rights to assemble were obliterated by someone else's purported 2nd Amendment rights?

Exactly what "well-regulated militia" did the shooter and the mother he also murdered belong?

Isthmus Asked Me For A 2012 Highlight Reel...

And I'll bet you can add to my list of Top Five GOP Headscratchers, or produce your own.

5. Watching the once-invincible Tommy Thompson take a hard right turn and careen over the cliff to a U.S. Senate defeat by U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison).

4. Putting U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) on the GOP national ticket to help carry swing-state Wisconsin, only to see Obama-Biden win Wisconsin and romp in Janesville.

3. Sowing the seeds for longtime trouble by willfully shutting Ojibwe bands out of bill-writing aimed to allow open-pit iron mining on the doorstep of treaty-protected land and water.

2. Proposing a hunting season for sandhill cranes that avid hunter and state Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) described as "the rib-eye of the sky."

1. Anticipating a wolf hunt so exciting that Kleefisch imagined the animals already "marinating."

Excellent Piece On Transit Needs In Milwaukee, Elsewhere

Fine reporting in the Wisconsin Gazette:

...the Zoo Interchange case is only one of many highway projects that suck money away from public transportation funding. Only about 6.5 percent of the state’s annual transportation dollars were allocated for public transit under the 2011-13 biennial budget, and Republicans want to push that number even lower, according to Steve Hiniker, executive director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin.
He estimated that only $212 million of the $3.3 billion allocated for transportation in the state this year went to public transit.
Many drivers believe that public transportation should have to pay for itself, arguing that their gas taxes pay for the roads they use. But that’s just a myth perpetrated by Big Oil and highway builders. In 2009, a national commission estimated that fuel taxes and other user fees accounted for less than 60 percent of transportation system revenue.
The majority of funding for public transit, as well as highway and airport costs, comes from property and other taxes from the general fund that people are forced to pay into whether they drive, fly or take the bus.

Forbes Ranks Wisconsin 42nd For Business

Two years of Scott Walker's "Open For Business" slogans, corporate tax breaks and ideological scapegoating of public employees haven't been building a business climate in the state, finds Forbes.

 The magazine ranks the state 42nd nationally.

And Walker's false claims about job creation only make a bad economic situation worse.

Tweet Of The Weekend, David Maraniss

People will long remember what Barack Obama said in Newtown...his Gettysburg address...

"Pants On Fire" Rating For Walker Jobs' Misinformation Should Raise Paper's Ire

Readers of the Journal Sentinel probably saw that the news side of the operation handed Scott Walker a scoring of "pants on fire" for his false claim to have created nearly 100,000 jobs.

The context, of course, is Walker's signature pledge made during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, and repeated during the 2012 recall, that he'd preside over the creation of 250,000 new jobs (and 10,000 new businesses, to boot) by the end of one term.

Close readers of the paper also saw that, beginning today, there will no longer be daily editorials, as that page is redesigned and redefined.

So the question is: will the paper editorially comment on the PolitFact finding? Put another way, does the Editorial Board which endorsed Walker in his campaigns for Governor and Milwaukee County Executive think the issues raised by Walker's own words are worth the board's commentary?

Editorials that comment on staff-generated news stories have been commonplace at the newspaper, and others - - a sort of a one-two punch that helps focus attention on an important matter at hand.

A deeper look at Walker's entire PolitiFact history shows relatively few "true" and "mostly true" ratings - - just 11 out of 59 - - with more than 60% of Walker statements the paper has investigated under the PolitiFact flag carried ratings and findings containing the word "false."

People on the left and right argue about PolitiFact, find fault with it when it is aimed their way, and cheer when the other side gets skewered, but the math underlying the jobs claim's "pants on fire" analysis and his total true/false PolitiFact dichotomy don't lie.

The paper's editorial board should confront Walker's jobs claim, and his PolitiFact record in full. and hold him accountable.

After all, he is the Governor, atop the state government to which he said, on a still-existing campaign website, he would bring the highest standards:

"The culture of government has destroyed the integrity and the idea of public service," said Walker. "My plan seeks to restore the public trust, and instill the confidence that our elected leaders are working for the people," Walker added.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Use Social, Electronic Media To Organize Against Gun Violence

I posted this over at the Purple Wisconsin site:

Obama says this is the time for action

That the country can't tolerate mass shooting mayhem anymore. 
He's the President, and he needs to lead a national conversation with depth, and with outcomes, because we failed those kids and families and school staffers in Newtown
This is not and should not be a partisan issue, nor is it a geographic, urban/rural or left vs. right problem.
It's a national, all-inclusive. American matter.
Social media and blogs like these at Purple Wisconsin can be a forum for civil and productive debate. We are not hopeless, or helpless. We can reduce the national gun-violence death toll.

Praise For Obama And A Call For Action

Right tone, message. We need follow-through, and he needs ours, too.

High-Profile Silence From Gun Access Backers

* The NRA goes silent.

* None of 31 pro-gun US Senators accept invites to Sunday AM news shows.

Walker's Preposterous Job-Creation Claim Rated "Pants On Fire"

Nearly 100,000 jobs? You get "Pants On Fire Politifacted" when you're Liar, Liar.

Walker said the state has created "just under 100,000" jobs since he took office. He arrived at that number by combining full and partial years of census data.

However, several within his own administration, including his primary spokesman, have said that is the wrong way to measure jobs -- you can’t combine partial and full year data sets. As one aide said: It would be "misrepresenting the truth."

By his administration’s own yardstick, his statement is false. We think it’s ridiculous to -- after private admonitions -- publicly present it this way. Pants on Fire.
It's part of a bigger picture, and pattern, but this one takes the cake.

Scott Walker Not Entitled To Benefit Of The Doubt

[A.M Update: Liar, liar get's indelible "Pants On Fire."]

Scott Walker has been looking uncharacteristically moderate and puncturing conservative trial balloons of late - - dropping his call for an end to election-day voter registration, sorta backing away from 'right-to-work' legislation and pulling an almost half-million dollar upgrade to the Governor's Mansion kitchen facilities from a State Building Commission agenda.

You can give Walker a pass on any of these matters, take him at his word, and dismiss that he is remaking himself before the 2016 presidential season, but do so at your peril.

Walker has forfeited the right to have his words taken at face value because there has been a two-faced history to his behavior as Milwaukee County Executive and as Governor.

As County Executive, he pledged - - his words - - reform, government integrity and transparency, but presided over an administration where key aides set up and used a secret and partisan communications system a few yards from his office - - right in the County Courthouse - - and where the commission of illegal activities on public time are sending former staffers to reformer Walker to jail and prison.

Walker also withheld during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign that he would spring on public employees a politically-calamitous bill to end nearly all their collective bargaining rights.

And take a look at his overall PolitiFact ratings: Only 22 of 58 statements have been vetted as half-true or better - - less than 40%.

Ronald Reagan, Walker's hero, said "trust, but verify," but how can the voters or even media do that with someone so dedicated to stealth?

Better to remember George W. Bush's tortured "fool me once" admonition:

There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.

US To Toughen Air Quality Standards

Great news, though expect the Dirty Air Lobby to complain.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

NRA Leader Joined Walker When Concealed Carry Was Signed

Judge people by the company they keep:

Walker Signs Concealed Carry Bill

NRA Executive Will Join Walker At Bill Signing

Conn. Shooter Used Military-Grade Assault Rifle...

Similar to the weapon the DC snipers used some years ago: Second Amendment rights secure!


Natural Resources Board Opens State Parks To Hunters, Trappers

The board scales back the acreage and time frames that Walker and legislators wanted, but still grants hunters and trappers access to public lands previously off-limits.

Public sentiment was overwhelmingly in opposition, so the final ruling is being called a compromise.

Mike Huckabee Had Most Ridiculous Post-Shooting Comment

Take God out of the classroom and this is what happens, says the former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate, on Fox, of course:

When we ask why there is violence in our schools, but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools have become a place for carnage because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability?
Note to Jon Stewart: please stop giving this dope a platform.

Did Walker Signal 'Right-To-Work' As 2014 Campaign Issue?

Gov. Scott Walker tells the Journal Sentinel that he will not support or sign any 'Right-to-Work' legislation in the upcoming session - - and by the way, he really, really wants it known he's not engaging in any "wink and nod" tactics (now why would Gov. 'Drop The Bomb' have to so beg to be believed?) - - but here's how he left the door open to getting the bill to his desk:

Gov. Scott Walker signaled he wouldn't pursue any new bills on public or private unions in the coming legislative session and wouldn't touch the issue of right-to-work legislation until it had been debated as part of an election...
"If we ever had a (right-to-work) discussion like that in the future, it's something we'd have going into an election."
And how easy would it be for a stalking horse or outside group to insert the issue into the campaign, giving Walker the issue without the direct or open responsibility for having introduced it?

'Well, since you brought it up, it sounds like a modest proposal to me...'

Great Timing: MI Approves Guns-In-Schools-Law

Down the rabbit hole that sad state goes:

Most of the attention on the new bill has focused on provisions allowing hidden handguns in places where they are now forbidden, such as schools, university dorms and classrooms, and sporting stadiums.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Politico's Roger Simon Had Important Tweet Today

Accusing people of "politicizing" tragedy is a gun lobby ploy to keep us from acting against gun massacres. Don't fall for it. Act.

Sign White House Petition For Gun Control Debate, Legislation

Access the petition, here. You will need to create an account, which takes all of 30 seconds.

Barrett Has Been Outspoken On Gun Issues

Not all pols are scared of the NRA. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett a few, sad weeks ago:

National and state political leaders need to step forward and honor the victims who died in Sunday's shootings at a Brookfield spa by closing the loophole that allows individuals to purchase guns over the Internet without background checks, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Wednesday.

He offered prayers and condolences to the families of the three women killed and the four others injured in a shooting Sunday at the Azana Salon & Spa.

"Unfortunately, we've seen this before," he said. "And we know this will happen again" without a change in the laws, he said.
After the Sikh Temple shooting in Oak Creek in August:

We must act now to prevent gun violence

Ensuring background checks on all gun sales would close one of the major loopholes in our current gun laws and make it harder for criminals and those with mental illness to gain access to guns.

We should make it a felony to purchase guns for those who can't legally buy guns themselves. We need stricter penalties for those who refuse to abide by the provisions of the concealed-carry law. We should deny a firearm permit for habitual offenders who have three misdemeanors in a five-year period. We should strengthen criminal penalties for crimes committed with guns.

We should reinstate the national ban on assault weapons and have a serious review of Internet sales of large amounts of ammunition.
Twenty months earlier:
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Monday called for doing more complete background checks on firearm buyers and instituting background checks on all sales of guns, whether they are new or used.
Joined by nearly two dozen people affected by gun violence, Barrett said the proposals - included in a bill recently introduced by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) - would help keep guns from those already prohibited by law from having them

Most School, Other Mass Shootings Happen In US

The data don't lie.

More useful facts, here, including:
9. States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence.
Last year, economist Richard Florida dove deep into the correlations between gun deaths and other kinds of social indicators. Some of what he found was, perhaps, unexpected: Higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness were not correlated with more deaths from gun violence. But one thing he found was, perhaps, perfectly predictable: States with tighter gun control laws appear to have fewer gun-related deaths. The disclaimer here is that correlation is not causation. But correlations can be suggestive:

“The map overlays the map of firearm deaths above with gun control restrictions by state,” explains Florida. “It highlights states which have one of three gun control restrictions in place – assault weapons’ bans, trigger locks, or safe storage requirements. Firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation. Though the sample sizes are small, we find substantial negative correlations between firearm deaths and states that ban assault weapons (-.45), require trigger locks (-.42), and mandate safe storage requirements for guns (-.48).”

We Have To Break Free Of Dangerous Gun Lobby Domination

I posted this at my Journal Sentinel blog site:

Any politician, any opinion-maker, who is too afraid of the gun lobby, or says there's nothing to be done, and will not take leadership and act to better control handgun access in America that enables total lunatics to run wild even in an elementary school should be defeated, recalled or otherwise abandoned in favor of a citizen movement to save our children, temple worshippers, movie-goers, spa customers or people just sitting on their front porches.
Enough with the excuses and talking-point stupidity
Update: The White House has this all wrong:

White House: Today is not the day for gun-control debates

White House press secretary Jay Carney says President Obama has been briefed on the shooting, but that today is not the day to discuss policy.

For starters, we need long waiting periods for handgun purchases, magazine capacity limitations, and an assault weapon sales ban.

And a national movement to overcome lethargy and fear.