As 2012 came to a close, most of the “fruit cakes” were supposed to come from Claxton Georgia. This was apparently not the case as politicians and lobbies in Washington D.C. continued with their brazen partisanship and disregard for the consequences of their actions.
First we had the never-ending “Fiscal Cliff” which was no better than a game of “chicken” between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. To put things in a nut shell, the President wanted additional taxes on the wealthy and to continue deficit spending increasing the power and influence of the government on people’s lives. In the other corner, Boehner prefers no tax increases and a reduction of government spending that has put the country over $16 trillion in debt.
While President Obama and Republican leaders eventually worked out a so called “compromise plan” little has changed with the new legislation other than “kicking the can” down the road until the debt ceiling crisis that Congress will have to deal with next month.
Meanwhile in another part of the galaxy, a potential blockbuster crisis was just averted with a 30 day delay with the International longshoremen’s Association (ILA) threatening to strike on the East Coast and Gulf docks. Were this to happen, ocean commerce in these areas would come to a stand still. Before joining the picket line, one must remember the 15,000 members of the ILA make well over $135,000 per year in wages and benefits while working at best 30 hours a week.
Negotiating with these powerful interests will be touchy for the Obama administration since the ILA monetarily supported him in the recent election and he is beholden to “Big Labor”. But the fact remains a strike would cost the economy over a billion dollars a day. Past President’s have not hesitated to enact the Taft-Hartley Act to avoid a dock strike. The question remains how Obama will handle this potential man-made disaster?
On the other side of town is the idiotic musings of the gun lobby and certain politicians who feel the Second Amendment is an outdated appendix from the 18th century. As is normally the case, both sides of this issue are terribly wrong. In the aftermath of the tragedy in New Town/Sandy Hook, the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association Wayne La Pierre wants to protect the public schools by stationing a Policeman/rent-a-cop in every K 1-12 facility across America.
What a freaking moron this guy is! Outside of the huge estimated cost 26 billion per year, would this extra security make children safer while attending classes? Of course not! Transforming the public schools into a satellite operation of the TSA sounds like the first step of making the USA into a police state.
It is especially difficult to listen to such demagoguery at a time when schools are scratching (especially in California) for funding to improve a struggling education standards. If we had the “spare change” perhaps the money would be better spent on teaching mathematics, reinstating counselor services for at risk children or providing after school activities to keep kids gainfully occupied before their parents come home from work.
The NRA “big wigs” are convinced that there is no way to control the spread of guns ranging from revolvers to assault rifles. While I am a strong believer in the right to bear arms, there has to be some common sense in monitoring the distribution system. I personally do not think hand grenades, machine guns or assault rifles have any place in protecting a residential environment.
Much like other advances in technology, it appears these assault rifles with hollow point bullets go far beyond defending one’s homes from intruders. Surely, Congress should come to this realization that its time for limiting the “Wild West” world of fire arms sales while protecting the second amendment..
Even if this was done, it would not eliminate tragedies such as Sandy Hook. Unfortunately, the bad guys are always going to be able to obtain whatever weapons they need to cause havoc and crime. However, we can at least slow them down a little and change the gun culture of the USA to be consistent with common sense values of society.
The answer of preventing the horrific Connecticut shootings, do not necessary have a dollar amount as a solution. All to often, Americans want to throw money at a problem not understanding the concept of “Force Majeur” (an act of God or nature) Sometimes events occur for which we have no or little control. As such it often better to take a deep breath and learn from our mistakes rather than throwing good money after bad.
In following the pattern of school shootings the past ten years, all the assailants have all been males. It could be because men are more aggressive than women or perhaps they are under the influence of forces that make them more violent? One thing that comes to mind are certain video games and movies that place little value on human life. Should younger kids be exposed to these violent type of experiences? While this looks good on paper, there is also free speech concerns guaranteed under the constitution that protects the rights of citizens to make their own choices.
I am not sure violence in the media is a comp for “kitty porn” but I think it is a good subject for the Supreme Court to deal with in the not to distant future. However, regardless of what the courts might say or legislation passed by Congress, it is still up to parents to monitor how their children are raised and what kind of citizens they one day will become.
It seems with the emergence of the social media and the proliferation of information on the internet (that goes far beyond what has been available in the history of mankind,} we have developed a disenfranchised society whose values can be somewhat different from past generations. Are head phones and twitter a substitute for interaction with kids in the socialization process? Is the development of social skills being short circuited by the many choices on the internet? Is it possible the “bottom feeders” of these changes are the mass murderer’s who shoot up schools and shopping malls?
No one really knows what the answers are but we all hope the political process can provide more reason and less doctrinaire thinking than exists in the current environment in Washington D.C. today. Beyond politics, it is up to individuals and families to make things right in 2013 and beyond.