So, first, the alleged grownups: In Minnesota, State Rep. Tony Cornish (R-EmptyGesture), who has advocated more guns in educational institutions since at least 2007, plans to introduce an "Armed Defense of Classrooms" law, explaining that
"It's something that we have to face that all of the laws in the world sometimes aren't just going to work…The cop can't be everywhere so the best person to defend yourself is yourself."
Fortunately, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has already said that the idea of arming teachers "defies common sense," and virtually every other bit of give-everyone-a-gun legislation Cornish has symbolically introduced has been defeated.
In Oklahoma, State Rep. Mark McCullough (R-WishfulThinking) wants to go a step beyond merely allowing teachers to carry firearms; while his proposed bill would (for now) only apply to teachers who volunteer to be armed, he would also require these armed teachers to have equivalent training to that provided to law enforcement officers:
"These teachers would be trained at the same level as our law enforcement are currently trained," he said. "They would be trained in target acquisition, in marksmanship. They would be trained in all of the things that our current police officers are trained in."
This is very encouraging, as we are all aware that no law enforcement officers ever shoot anyone accidentally or without justification.
Also, too, there's Tennessee, where State Sen. Frank Niceley (R-JustPilingOnNow) would require that every school have either an armed Resource Officer or at least one armed faculty or staff member. He seems really proud of how well he's thought out possible scenarios:
"Say some madman comes in. The first person he would probably try to take out was the resource officer. But if he doesn't know which teacher has training, then he wouldn't know which one had [a gun]," Niceley said by phone. "These guys are obviously cowards anyway and if someone starts shooting back, they're going to take cover, maybe go ahead and commit suicide like most of them have."
Wonkette was unable to confirm whether Sen. Nicely actually acted out the scenario on his desk with action figures and "Pew! Pew!" noises.
[Note: When we began drafting this piece, we only had the story about Minnesota's armed-teacher proposal. The other two were brought to our attention by Your Editrix while we were writing, a literal tripling of Derp. By the end of the day we expect similar GOP proposals for all 50 states, Puerto Rico & Samoa, and the International Space Station -- Doktor Zoom]
Meanwhile, in Kearns, Utah, an 11-year-old boy who said he was worried about the shootings in Newtown brought a .22 handgun with him to school on Monday morning, along with ammunition that may not have matched the gun. School officials and law enforcement are still sorting out exactly what happened, because most of the information is based on the testimony of very frightened 6th-graders, but at least one source also reports that he told other kids that his parents had encouraged him to take the gun for protection. We have not seen any confirmation that the parents actually said that — If they did, they are terrible human beings.
The boy reportedly pointed the gun, which was apprently not loaded, at several kids and told them he would kill them if they told a teacher about the gun; once someone did tell a teacher — near the end of the school day — the boy was taken to the principal, the gun was seized, and the boy was arrested. (Some parents are apparently angry that the school did not go into lockdown, which seems perhaps not exactly called for if the principal had the gun secured and the kid sitting in his office waiting for police.)
No word yet on whether any Utah legislators will argue that an armed teacher should have been allowed to take out the kid, had they seen him waving a gun on the playground. If he was pointing his empty gun at another student, it would have been a clean kill, after all.
More gun-related fuckery is expected to come in the coming days. In the meantime, Your Wonkette would like to present this public service message:
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) has an A rating from the National Rifle Association but he says that Democrats are at fault for not passing more gun control legislation.
During a Tuesday interview on MSNBC, host Thomas Roberts asked Kingston if he looked at the recent massacre of 20 school children in Connecticut and felt "a sense of guilt" over his tough stance against gun control.
"Where I think we have the guilt is we see a huge problem like this — and it's a problem that's happening in other countries as well — and we look for something that, okay, what can prevent it?" Kingston explained. "And I think that's where we need to go with this discussion is, yes, put gun control — more gun control — on the table. But, also, don't forget the mental health element. Don't forget, is there a home situation that we need to learn more about? Was this young man addicted to violent video games? Was there a Hollywood influence? I think that we can't just stop at guns."
Roberts observed that many pro-gun Democrats had recently changed their tune and that the Republicans were in danger of being the party of "the people that defend Glocks" if they continued to oppose meaningful gun restrictions.
"What also is disturbing though is people would say, do the Republicans — I mean, here we have a town, which was controlled in the House by Democrats, in the Senate by Democrats and the White House by Democrats for two years and nothing took place for stricter gun control laws," Kingston insisted. "So, for the partisans in our country to already start injecting politics in here, that saddens me further."
No, this isn't "a problem that's happening in other countries as well." That's bullshit. When a sane country experiences a massacre, they get serious about gun violence and the event never repeats. Kingston is an idiot or a liar and one doesn't rule out the other.
But what's so galling here is that Kingston believes he has no responsibility for his votes. According to the report, "Kingston had gotten an A rating from the NRA because he had voted against gun regulations for years — including opposing the Brady Handgun Bill, supporting a partial repeal of the D.C. firearm ban, opposing restrictions on semi-automatic assault weapons and voting to decrease waiting periods." But it's all Democrats' fault, because they couldn't get to together the votes to overcome his opposition.
I'm tempted to find Kingston, sneak up behind him, and smack him over the head with a giant foam rubber clown hammer. After all, it wouldn't be my fault, it'd be Rep. Jack's for not stopping me.
Those were the days, my friends:
Vice President Joe Biden told cafe patrons in Virginia on Tuesday that he could "guarantee" he and President Obama would allow no changes to Social Security.
As a debate over reforming entitlements -- particularly Medicare -- takes center stage in the 2012 presidential campaign, Biden seemed to promise not to allow changes to the program.
"Hey, by the way, let's talk about Social Security," Biden said after a diner at The Coffee Break Cafe in Stuart, VA expressed his relief that the Obama campaign wasn't talking about changing the popular entitlement program.
"Number one, I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security," Biden said, per a pool report. "I flat guarantee you."
The pool report noted that most of the patrons at the cafe toward whom Biden was directing his remarks were over the age of 60.
The vice president's language almost hearkens back to some 2011 tough talk by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who vowed not to take up changes to Social Security for another two decades, by which time he might not even be a senator anymore.
"Two decades from now, I'm willing to take a look at it, but I'm not willing to take a look at it right now," Reid said at the time in an interview on MSNBC. "It is not in crisis at this stage. Leave Social Security alone. We have a lot of other places we can look that is in crisis. But Social Security is not."
Their consolation will be that the Villagers will all consider it a great act of heroism for both of them to go back on their word on this.
Monaghan is a devout Catholic and believes that using contraception is "gravely immoral," according to his court filing. The suit adds that prior to the Affordable Care Act's passage, the company specifically sought out insurance that does not cover contraception. The suit adds that prior to the Affordable Care Act's passage, the company specifically sought out insurance that does not cover contraception. One of the regulations implemented after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law requires that all health insurance plans cover preventative care — which includes regular cancer and STD screenings, annual checkups and contraception for both men and women — free of charge. Employers that are morally opposed to providing contraception are allowed a religious exception that places the financial burden entirely upon the insurer. In his lawsuit, however, Monaghan insists that his religious freedom is being infringed upon by the coverage mandate. The billionaire argues that he's actually paying for "abortions" by way of supplying workers with access to emergency contraception like "Plan B" and "ella," which the lawsuit calls "abortifacients."The Christianist logic of blocking access to birth control in order to reduce abortions in mind-blowing.
In addition to cancelling its popular "American Guns" reality show, The Discovery Channel confirmed to Raw Story on Tuesday that firearms enthusiast Ted Nugent will also not be returning to the channel in any form or fashion.
Speaking to Raw Story in remarks specified as "not for attribution," a spokesperson admitted that "Ted Nugent's Gun Country" didn't do very well when it aired in October, even with fellow firearms fashionistas. Nielsen Ratings placed the viewership at about 864,000 people in all. But the network's decision is not just about the numbers.
After Friday's devastating massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the spokesperson said that Nugent would definitely not be returning to the Discovery Channel.
These are the types of shows that fuel the sick and twisted gun culture in America, making it somehow synonymous with masculinity and power. Neither should be the case. I consider people like Nugent to be cowards, hiding behind specious bumper sticker slogans and heavy weaponry as a means of masking their fear and, you know, shortcomings.
Maybe Chris Matthews will ask Tony Perkins about this the next time he is on to spew bile about homosexuals:
The former director of women's and reproductive health at the Family Research Council, a prominent Christian conservative advocacy group, is suing the organization, claiming it retaliated against her and fired her after she filed a sexual harassment complaint against her boss.
According to court documents first obtained and reported by journalist Evan Gahr, former FRC employee Moira Gaul, 42, filed a complaint in 2009 with the District of Columbia Human Rights Commission in which she accused her supervisor of gender discrimination. She claimed that her boss, the director of the Center for Human Life and Bioethics at the time, referred to the use of birth control pills as "whoring around," addressed emails to her with the words "hi cutie," pressured her to attend parties, and referred to her as a "young, attractive woman."
"His attitude toward me and other women was rude, belittling, and at times, angry," she wrote in the complaint.
Gahr identified Gaul's former supervisor as prominent anti-abortion lawyer William Saunders, who now works at the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life. Saunders and his attorney, William J. Hickey, did not respond to requests for comment on the case.
I'm more shocked that the Family Research Council has a women's reproductive health division than I am that these religious nutters are sexist assholes.
There are a slew of newly visible, Serious & Constructive ideas about improving gun safety in America, shaken loose by the latest tragedy. Mr. Charles P. Pierce at Esquire starts near the top of the food chain:
If you read nothing else in the wake of the tragic events in Connecticut, you should check out the story that the socialist-liberal-fascists at Fortune have put together on who precisely it is that makes an unholy buck on murder in this country…
This could be the start of something real — a disinvestment campaign, modeled on the one aimed at companies doing business in South Africa and, later, at the tobacco industry, on the part of police, and fire, and school teachers' unions to remove their money from the marketing end of mass killing. A campaign that would redefine gun violence as a public-health crisis, as David Satcher tried to do years ago, and to redefine it on the balance sheet, where that would really count. This could be the start of holding the people who really make the money accountable for how they make it… The paranoia stoked by NRA fundraising — which, alas, seems to have worked its dark magic on Adam Lanza's mother — is not directed merely against sensible gun legislation. It's to sell more guns to the people who marinate themselves in that paranoia, so the people who make the guns can make even more money. That's the place you want to paint the bullseye.
As befits its audience, Gawker's Drew Magary uses ruder words:
… One of the amazing things about the gun control debate in America is the remarkable success with which gun manufacturers—Sig Sauer, Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, The Freedom Group (yes, it's called the fucking Freedom Group)—have been able to avoid the conversation altogether. When you think of Glock, you think of a gun, and not of the company behind it. That needs to change…
Gun manufacturers profit off of mass violence in America. See for yourself. Every time a massacre happens, gun sales go through the roof because liberals cry out for gun control, and then conservatives flee to buy as many guns as possible just in case those shady folks in the GUBMINT come calling for their precious arms. They've succeeded in getting gun owners to disguise their love of shooting shit under a bullshit pretense of one day having to form a militia just in case Hitler II gets elected President. And they've succeeded in letting those people fight their flame wars for them. You have to hand it the gun industry, really. It's an ingenious little sales cycle they've created. Every massacre draws attention to the product, yet somehow NEVER to the people ultimately responsible for their production. More »
Members of the Electoral College formally cast their ballots for the 2012 presidential election in traditional ceremonies across the country today. In Arizona, three electoral voters — including state GOP Chairman Tom Morrissey — took the opportunity to question President Obama's birth certificate as they cast their ballot for Mitt Romney, the AP reports.
"I'm not satisfied with what I've seen," Morrissey said, according to a local radio station. "I think for somebody in the president's position to not have produced a document that looks more legitimate, I have a problem with that."
Actually? Better get a new chicken, because y'all done fucked this one to death.
As you may recall, Tom Morrissey was diagnosed with Obama Derangement Syndrome long ago, so this isn't new. (I wrote about Morrissey here.) Still, its pretty goddamn embarrassing.
These fools are just yelling at the sky at this point. They need to sit down and shut up. The election is over. Nobody has time for this birther crap anymore.
Seriously. Shut it down.
The Revenge of Todd Akin - Missouri's bad loser and noted lady parts scholar Todd Akin continues his streak, as his license to bully bill is included in the new Defense Authorization. Essentially, it says that anti-gay actions and speech can still be disciplined, but anti-gay beliefs themselves cannot be used to justify adverse personnel actions. So there will be no professional consequences (like not being promoted) if you act on your fears of teh gay. (Think Progress)
Gretchen Carlson asks doctor (who is selling a book) if Newtown victims remember attack up in heaven
Even in the midst of a crisis, Americans can come together and find spiritual comfort buying a line of bullshit from a nice man who sincerely believes his bullshit to be true. That's apparently why Fox & Friends had neurosurgeon Eben Alexander on their program yesterday, where he described his own "experiences" of Heaven while in a coma caused by meningitis. Alexander, who happens to be hawking a best-selling book confidently titled Proof of Heaven, had the "hopeful" message that the murdered children's families "can know that those precious souls are cherished and cared for right now." Comfort is a good product to be peddling at a time like this, and there's a succor born every minute. READ MORE »
You're home now and more alone than ever. Your friends, your family, no one understands what you've been through. How could they? How could anyone understand something like that unless they've lived through it?
You drink way too much, become violently angry at the drop of a hat, and have trouble even managing your basic day-to-day needs. The Army doesn't help. They refuse to acknowledge you even have a problem. And if they did, they couldn't do anything about it, because Congress rightly believes ensuring low taxes and a compliant low-wage workforce for your betters is more important.
And now, they want to take away your guns simply because you are mentally incompetent, but, thankfully, Sen. Coburn has your back:
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sought to amend the bill to stop the Veterans Affairs Department from putting the names of veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their finances into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which prohibits them from buying or owning firearms.