I Fear Guns in the Hands of Criminals and Terrorists, Senators Fear the NRA

According to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 35 people are murdered daily by guns in America. This is the equivalent of a Virginia Tech massacre every day. “Yet” he said “while some criminals are busy evading background checks at gun shows, Congress continues to turn a blind eye to this glaring gap in our nation’s gun laws.”

That is because their eyes are filled with visions of high rankings from the National Rifle Association… and their hearts filled with fear of NRA opposition.

Ignoring this gap is very bad policy, but advocating the rights of terrorists to purchase guns is irresponsible and absurd. But that is what U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins did in a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Senator Frank Lautenberg sponsored a bill that would prohibit gun sales to people on the FBI terrorist watch list. That sounds to me like a no-brainer. But Graham opposed the bill, saying that “I think you’re going too far here…”  and then he shifted his argument to his opposition to giving terrorists captured in the United States their Constitutional rights of a Miranda warning.

So, wrote Gail Collins in the New York Times, if you are on the FBI terrorist watch “the authorities can keep you from getting on a plane but not from purchasing an AK-47.” Graham said this was the case because “when the founders sat down and wrote the Constitution, they didn’t consider flying.” He really said that. He really did.

The consequences of this policy, according to Gail Collins is that “1,119 people on the watch list have been able to purchase weapons over the last six years. One of them bought 50 pounds of military grade explosives.”

I used to believe that Graham and Susan Collins were thoughtful people willing to put partisanship aside and do what is best for America. But the fact is, they are mere partisans eager to oppose and vilify proposals from the President of the United States and their Democratic colleagues, while marching in lock step with the NRA.


Message to Arizona from the Holy Bible

Message to Arizona from the Holy Bible

“You are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:19)

“You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien.” (Exodus 22:21).

“The alien who resides among you shall be to you as the citizen among you.” (Leviticus 19:34)

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.” (Hebrews 13:2)

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19; Matthew 5,19, 22; Mark 12; Luke 10; Romans 13; James 2)

I don’t see a requirement that the alien referred to in these verses must be “legal”. How do those who hold fast to Leviticus as justification for marginalizing our GLBT brothers and sisters justify turning a blind eye to the Bible when dealing with aliens?


Republican Double Dealing

Republican Double Dealing

House Minority Leader John Boehner complained that the “job-killing Democrats (health care) plan does not implement a single GOP reform… they have not incorporated any of the health care reforms Republicans support.”  When it was pointed out to him that some of the provisions of the newly-inacted law were quite popular, Boehner responded by saying that any of the good ideas in the law “came from Republicans… they are part of the common sense ideas” offered by Republicans and included in the law.  I guess what he  means is the following: If you like it, credit the Republicans; whatever you dislike, blame the Democrats.


How is the Economy Treating You?

How is the Economy Treating You?

The first quarter of 2010 has been a bonanza time for the Big Banks: Citigroup recorded a $4.4 billion profit, JP Morgan Chase $3.3 billion, Bank of America $3.2 billion. Goldman Sachs increased profits by 91% over the same quarter last year, coming in with a gain of $3.46 billion. In 2009 the Big Bankers roped in their best-ever paydays, at a total payout of $140 billion. The top 25 hedge fund managers “earned” an average of $1 billion, with the lowest paid getting $350 million. John Paulson took home more than $3billion for the two years preceding the melt down!

Please Join the conversation by writing your comments in the box at the bottom of this page, or going to The Pub (see top of page). Thanks, Bill

What the Pope Could Have Said

What the Pope Could Have Said

I learned a valuable lesson early in my political career: When you make a mistake or a misjudgment, acknowledge it quickly and repair any damage. What the Pope should have said years ago is that “What some priests have done is sinful and the response of the church is shameful. We must repent, both individually and as an institution; we must rid the church of all people in authority who violate the dignity and rights of others; and we must do everything we can to restore to wholeness those who have suffered such egregious harm.”

Please Join the conversation by writing your comments in the box at the bottom of this page, or going to The Pub (see top of page). Thanks, Bill