The Beach Boys:
Earlier today, a gunman walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where people were watching the midnight showing of the new Batman movie. He fired gas canisters into the crowd, and then opened fire. At least 12 people are dead and 59 people are injured. My heart and prayers go out to all of them.
On the day Gabby Giffords was shot, I was picking up my son Henry from a lesson when I got the text message saying there had been a shooting. I’d campaigned with Gabby in 2006. Henry didn’t understand why I’d stopped getting into the car and started crying.
Walking back from a haircut the other day, I passed Café Racer, where on May 30th a gunman walked in and killed four people.
It’s time we had an adult conversation in this country about guns.
On January 17, 1989, a gunman in Stockton, California walked onto a playground and opened fire, killing 5 children and injuring 30 more.
On July 1, 1993, a gunman in San Francisco walked into a law office and opened fire, killing 8 and injuring 6.
On April 20, 1999, two gunmen in Columbine, Colorado walked into their high school and opened fire, killing 13 people and injuring 21 others.
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Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders Reps. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Keith Ellison, D-Minn., are trying to get political support for a congressional resolutionthat would repudiate any “grand bargain” on the federal deficit that cuts Social Security, Medicare or other programs vital to economic security.
Their resolution calls for a “Deal for All” that would protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; contain “serious revenue increases,” including corporate tax loopholes and higher tax brackets for the highest-income earners; significant reductions in defense spending; and “strong levels of job-creating Federal investments in areas such as infrastructure and education.”000000000000000000000000000
The Caucus co-chairs issued a joint statement that said, “Congress is gearing up for high-stakes tax and budget negotiations, and we’re standing with working families to make sure we build a stronger and fairer economy. While both parties will need to make sacrifices, we cannot do so at the expense of economic growth or the middle class. A balanced approach like the Deal for All would end tax breaks for the richest 2 percent, close tax loopholes for the wealthy and special interests, and ensure Americans don’t lose the benefits they’ve paid into for decades such as Social Security and Medicare.”
The “Deal for All” stands in sharp contrast to the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan offered by the co-chairmen of President Obama’s fiscal commission, Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson. That plan would, among other things, lower tax rates on the wealthiest Americans while cutting more than $400 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over the next 10 years and reducing cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients.
Many Democrats are being pushed into believing that such policies are necessary to keep the government and the economy from falling over a “fiscal cliff” by the end of the year. Fortunately, some of these Democrats are pushing back, arguing that this is the time to end flawed tax policies that favored the wealthy at the expense of working-class Americans, and reject the austerity policies that we see failing miserably in Europe.
So far 38 members of the House have signed on to the resolution. Ask your member of Congress if he or she will also co-sponsor the resolution.
This would be a good time to call your congress critter and push.
Out of something bad. We can all use a little inspiration today.
And people wonder why I’m suspicious about every prescription they hand me:
For years, a trio of anemia drugs known as Epogen, Procrit and Aranesp ranked among the best-selling prescription drugs in the United States, generating more than $8 billion a year for two companies, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson. But a Washington Post investigation shows that the benefits of the drugs — including “life satisfaction and happiness,” according to the FDA-approved label — had to be retracted and that potentially lethal side effects, such as cancer and strokes, were overlooked. Millions of patients were subjected to dangerous doses that might have had little advantage.
The multibillion-dollar rise and fall of the anemia drugs illustrates how the economic incentives embedded in U.S. health care can make the system not only inefficient, but potentially deadly. Through a well-funded research and lobbying campaign, the drugmakers won far-reaching approvals from the FDA. Doses tripled in size. The pharmaceutical companies conducted trials that missed the dangers and touted benefits that years later would be deemed unproven. The companies took more than a decade to fulfill their research commitments. And when bureaucrats tried to rein in the largest doses, a high-powered lobbying effort began until Congress forced the regulators to let the drugs flow.
The fact that this lawsuit seems to involve CREDO makes me wonder if the feds aren’t simply going after left-wing political activists, and not terrorists. I am deeply disappointed over the Obama administration’s willingness to expand the warrantless surveillance state, but not surprised. It would be the same no matter who won the election — once this kind of power is legitimized, it is certain that it will be used. From the Wall Street Journal:
Early last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation sent a secret letter to a phone company demanding that it turn over customer records for an investigation. The phone company then did something almost unheard of: It fought the letter in court.
The U.S. Department of Justice fired back with a serious accusation. It filed a civil complaint claiming that the company, by not handing over its files, was interfering “with the United States’ sovereign interests” in national security.
The legal clash represents a rare and significant test of an investigative tool strengthened by the USA Patriot Act, the counterterrorism law enacted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The case is shrouded in secrecy. The person at the company who received the government’s request—known as a “national security letter,” or NSL—is legally barred from acknowledging the case, or even the letter’s existence, to almost anyone but company lawyers.
“This is the most important national-security-letter case” in years, said Stephen Vladeck, a professor and expert on terrorism law at the American University Washington College of Law. “It raises a question Congress has been trying to answer: How do you protect the First Amendment rights of an NSL recipient at the same time as you protect the government’s interest in secrecy?”
Although they can’t legally confirm it, they go on to say that the process of elimination appears to point to Working Assets, which owns CREDO.
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