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What It Means To Be Soulless

February 19, 2018

Children in a Missouri town are selling raffle tickets offering an AR15 assault rifle as the prize to raise money for their baseball team. The rifle is the same type of weapon used last week in the Florida school shooting that killed 17 people.

The raffle was launched before the shooting, but Levi Patterson, the coach of the team in Neosho for boys 9 and younger, told The Kansas City Star he plans to continue with the fundraiser.

Soulless.  Completely soulless.

Hello, I Am Senator Richard Burr….

February 19, 2018

… and I want you to know it only cost the NRA $6,986,620 to make sure I stay silent and watch as our children are murdered.

Students From Parkland High School Putting Pressure On Politicians With “March For Our Lives”

February 19, 2018

After a most dreadful week with the news of the slaughtering of high school students and teachers by a gunman with an assault weapon comes news from that tragedy which makes one have a ray of hope in the future.

You and I are most aware of what takes place after mass shootings.  I am not thinking of the funerals or the short biographies of the slain being shown on television or in newspapers.  Rather I am thinking of the pitiful responses from weak-kneed politicians who offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the grieving family, friends, and communities.

While there are those who continually press for sane gun control legislation following each wave of needless gun violence the pace of the nation and world events take over with fresh headlines and controversies.

And then Parkland happened.   The bodies were removed and the initial shock and horror passed and something new developed from the tragedy.  Teenagers stood up and said enough.

The fresh faces are speaking out with poise, clarity, facts, and hope about the reasons this nation must confront the gun lobby.  They paint a clear picture of the spineless twits who are bought and played by the NRA

I said to James as we talked about this over dinner this weekend something does feel a little different following this shooting.  With so many students from Parkland speaking out with passion and creating a national movement there might be reason for hope.   (As I posted yesterday history does show reason for hope with gun control legislation.)

The movement thus far has created March For Our Lives which is led led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar.   There is already a huge swath of support which only grow as the message spreads.  Already this morning a cousin in Missouri reports that a local school is preparing to march locally on March 24, when the Parkland students and others will take to the streets of Washington, DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority.

There are so many reasons to lose faith with government now in the hands of the Republicans, but as we have seen in the strong voices and sincere convictions of our nation’s future there is also ample reason for hope.  As a life-long optimist I opt for hope.

“Trump Is Either Hiding Something So Threatening To Himself, Or He’s Criminally Incompetent To Be Commander In Chief”

February 19, 2018

Tom Friedman nails it.

Up to now, Trump has been flouting the norms of the presidency. Now Trump’s behavior amounts to a refusal to carry out his oath of office — to protect and defend the Constitution. Here’s an imperfect but close analogy: It’s as if George W. Bush had said after 9/11: “No big deal. I am going golfing over the weekend in Florida and blogging about how it’s all the Democrats’ fault — no need to hold a National Security Council meeting.”

At a time when the special prosecutor Robert Mueller — leveraging several years of intelligence gathering by the F.B.I., C.I.A. and N.S.A. — has brought indictments against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups — all linked in some way to the Kremlin — for interfering with the 2016 U.S. elections, America needs a president who will lead our nation’s defense against this attack on the integrity of our electoral democracy.

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.



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