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History Of Civil Rights Legislation Leads For Hope With Gun Control Laws

February 18, 2018

It is amazing to think that following the passage of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution it took roughly a century for any meaningful civil rights legislation to pass the United States Senate.  There were all sorts of outrageous actions taking place in the South from making sure blacks could not vote due to  poll taxes and tests, to the barbaric murders from lynchings.  When President Truman pressed his civil rights agenda as late as 1949 the Southern bloc of senators, and some of the Republican Party controlled by Taft, made sure that nothing was going to pass that would allow for the civil rights of this segment of America to be granted.

The Southern bloc tried to spin their tale that everything was working in harmony in the former states that had succeeded during the Civil War.  Blacks and whites were pleased with how much progress had been made, these white elected officials said.  There was no need for national legislation as there was no problem that required to be fixed.    Any attempt at such a national response was unconstitutional and against states rights they claimed as they stood for hours at a time filibustering in the senate.

“We can fix the problems ourselves,” Richard Russell, Jr. of Georgia stated.   No anti-lynching legislation was needed, he said, as the states were able to pass their own laws.  Yet prior to Russell being in the senate he had been speaker of his legislature, and also served as governor, but with his power and popularity never once made an attempt to pass anti-lynching legislation.

It was not until 1957 that the power of the Southern Bloc buckled and the dam was opened for justice to start moving to the people.  The results prove what can happen when forces are aligned to move a nation forward.  Blacks faced threats, and worse, throughout the south for just trying to cast a ballot.  But then in decades to come an African-American was elected president–for two terms!  No one can tell a reader of history that there is no way to win on an issue.   And, furthermore, the progress in our nation is always towards the liberal turn.

History is always the guide for the future.  Never forget it.

I certainly do not know what further horrific shooting will be the last action required before congress acts on gun control legislation.  But history tells us the day will arrive when congress will hear the pleas and take the action Americans all over this land cry out for.    That is, after all, how the arc of history bends.

Will Republican Officials Show Up For CNN Town Hall On Gun Violence?

February 17, 2018

To help facilitate the discussion, CNN has announced it will hold a nationally televised town hall with the victims’ classmates, parents and community members.

“Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action” will air live on Wednesday, February 21 at 9 p.m., ET.

In addition, President Donald Trump, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, along with the state’s Sen. Bill Nelson, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ted Deutch have all been invited to participate in the town hall and hear directly from the grieving community.

A CNN spokeswoman said CNN anchor Jake Tapper will moderate the event and noted that additional details would be released in the coming days.

Any guess how many of the “invited guests” show up?

A Historical Cup Of Coffee Makes For Smile At End Of Very Hard Week In Nation

February 16, 2018

This has been an awful week in our nation.   From Parkland on Tuesday to the reports about efforts to undermine our democracy make news today.  This just proves we need something different–at least for one post on this blog–to lift spirits.

Everyday I spend an hour or so with a book about history.  I am working my way through–and loving each moment–of Master of the Senate by Robert Caro.  (How many ways are there to say brilliant?)  Richard Russell, Jr. was a famed senator in the 20th century–a Senate Office Building is named after him.   But it was his father, Russell, Sr., which makes for the smile I had and wish to impart to others who no doubt need something to lift their sails.

Richard Russell, Sr. was a judge and not far from the house where he lived with his wife and 13 kids—she spent the first 20 years of her marriage mostly being pregnant—was a train stopping point.   And that is where we find this account……….

On mornings on which the judge had to travel to court in Atlanta, one of the children would station himself at a curve about half a mile away to wave his handkerchief to flag the train down. Catching a glimpse of the train, he would shout, “Round the curve!”  “Round the curve!” The word would be relayed by another child to the house, where judge Russell sat regally at his table, refusing to be rushed through his breakfast, and then, at the very last moment, the judge, a lordly figure.. would stride out to the station, still holding his coffee cup.   Often he would not get there quite in time, and the train would be passing the station, but he would wave at the engineer, who would put on the brakes and then back the train up so that the judge could board, taking a last sip as he stepped aboard and handed the cup down to one of his children.



New Reported Affair Of Donald Trump Cheating On Melania–Sex With Mistress Two Years Into His 3rd Marriage

February 16, 2018

First lady Melania Trump eschewed the traditional South Lawn couple’s walk to Marine One on Friday amid another adultery allegation scandal, opting instead to drive separately ahead of President Donald Trump.

Today The New Yorker published a report based on a handwritten account from Karen McDougal who detailed her alleged affair with Donald Trump for nine months from June 2006 to April 2007, when Trump was two years into his marriage with Melania Trump. The document was provided to The New Yorker by McDougal’s friend, but she confirmed to the magazine that the handwriting in the document is hers.

It Is About Guns, Not Mental Health

February 16, 2018

It rubs at my common sense to hear otherwise sound people try to spin gun violence as an issue not about deadly weapons, but rather mental health.  That is not a sound conclusion.   Eugene Robinson addresses the matter in a must-read column today in The Washington Post.

Don’t tell me the issue is mental health. Save the nonsense about “good guys” with weapons somehow being the answer. The truth is this: There would have been no tragic shooting Wednesday in Parkland, Fla. , if a troubled young man had not gotten his hands on a military-style assault rifle and as much ammunition as he wanted.

It was obvious that a tragedy might be coming. Yet, as a society, we refused to take the steps that could have prevented it.

How many alienated and disturbed young men are out there, rattling around peaceful suburbs such as Parkland? Many thousands, surely. Some will get the help they need; some won’t. Most will never act on their violent urges; some will.

It is impossible to imagine a mental-health system with the scope, authority and resources necessary to prevent every Parkland or Newtown or Columbine. In Cruz’s case, in fact, the existing system worked: He got professional help. School administrators knew he could pose a threat. According to news reports, a tipster even tried to alert the FBI that Cruz wanted to be “a professional school shooter.”

With no criminal record or anything else in his past that would raise an official red flag, he sailed through a background check.

Apologists for the National Rifle Association will cynically use this circumstance to argue against a common-sense measure that 4 out of 5 Americans support: universal background checks for gun purchases. That wouldn’t have stopped the Parkland massacre, they will claim — diverting attention from the fact that universal checks could have prevented some mass shootings in the past and would surely prevent some in the future.

At the heart of the matter, though, lies the gun.

There are disturbed individuals like Cruz in countries around the world, but only the United States suffers mass shootings so regularly that they have almost become routine. Why? Because you can’t shoot up a school or a nightclub or a country music concert the way it was done in Parkland, Orlando and Las Vegas if you don’t have access to weapons of war that were designed for the battlefield.

Madison School Had Massive Fight Among Students–18 Police Needed To Stem Problem

February 16, 2018

This is worth your time to read as Madison ponders matter of police in our schools. Given the chaos and trouble in our society having such men and women in Madison schools is a most appropriate action.

.…..riot that occurred shortly before 10 Tuesday morning at La Follette High School. A disturbance so serious that three students were injured, 18 police responded, and the number of students fighting is still hard to come by.

There is growing evidence that these melees are more common in Madison’s four public high schools than is generally known.

Ald. Paul Skidmore tells the Squire, that he is aware of “similar serious incidents at the other public high schools.” The alder says he wants “to raise public awareness to this growing problem.”

Madison Police Chief Koval stated that, “To quell further outbreaks, police remained on-site [for 2½ hours] until 12:30 pm. during which time two of Madison’s four police districts, North and East, accepted only priority calls.

There is a clear need, based on the evidence at hand which stretches over months, for police to be in the Madison schools.  To deny that a serious problem exists is to only undermine our schools and short-change those students who actually do show up to learn and mature.   To have such outrageous and totally unacceptable behavior from some students who seem intent on doing bodily damage to others means that the adults in the city need to apply some stricter rules.

That is simply the bottom line.

The adults who need to take action are the residents of Madison demanding the school board make the logical step of having police located in our schools.  Even as I write those words it seems I am living in an alternate universe since my high school days were ones where spit-wads were the means of making mischief.  I know things change, but how did we get to the place where teachers are in harm’s way and students have to be ready to rumble before lunchtime?

There is more at play here than police in the schools.  It really comes down to ensuring adults understand the role ahead of them at the time of pregnancy.   Making sure all the plumbing works is fun but being a parent is a responsibility that too few fully embrace.

That is how we get the kids who make headlines which then cause the taxpayers to make choices–such as needing to place police in schools.

This is not something the shouters can claim is racial or somehow aimed at this or that demographic.    ALL parents who send their child to school should expect leaning to take place in a safe environment.  When that does not happen changes need to happen.


This Is The Script For Next School Shooting

February 16, 2018

The Boston Globe has an editorial today on the front page by Nestor Ramos which is so perfectly written I have posted the entirety of it below.

He will be a man, or maybe still a boy.

He will have a semiautomatic rifle — an AR-15, or something like it — and several high-capacity magazines filled with ammunition.

The weapon will have been purchased legally, the background check no obstacle.

He will walk into a school, or a concert, or an office building.

And he will open fire into a crowd of innocents.

Even as he’s still firing — crack crack crack — word will begin to spread. Survivors huddled in closets or behind bandstands will send pictures, text messages, and videos into a world that is again aghast.

Televisions will play the videos recorded amid the carnage, the sound somehow worse than the images. The fear in the victims’ voices will be familiar, yet too potent — a sound outside the boundaries of our own empathy.

We will hear about the heroes: Teachers who barricaded their classrooms or threw themselves betweenn their students and the gunfire; concertgoers who shielded strangers as bullets plowed into their backs.

And we will hear about him: He was strange and troubled and cruel to animals; he’d shown signs of mental illness; he lost his job; he beat his wife.

A chorus will rise to ask why anybody should own such a weapon, much less someone so obviously troubled; another chorus will accuse the first of politicizing tragedy. Some will point to the Second Amendment, and blame a lack of treatment for the mentally ill.

Politicians, and then the president, will emerge. Some will plead for new laws. More will ask only for thoughts and prayers. Some will not mention guns at all.

Any promises will be broken. Beyond the shattered orbit of the school or church or concert that became a shooting gallery, the whole thing will recede too soon into memory.

And then it will all happen again.

Whoever he is, he may already have the rifle. And he will follow the script.

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