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      What an amazing young woman: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education campaigner shot by the Taliban, has donated $50,000 (nearly £31,000) towards the reconstruction of schools in Gaza. The Nobel peace prize winner, speaking after receiving the World Children’s Prize for the rights of the child in Marienfred, Sweden, on Wednesday, said the money would be [… […]
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      As many have heard, John Tory, the mainstream right wing candidate, won convincingly in Toronto and Olivia Chow came in third place, even doing worse than Doug Ford (brother of the famous crack-smoking Rob Ford.)  Much hand wringing has ensued that progressive just can’t win elections in Toronto. While it’s true that Toronto is hard [...]
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Senator Menendez hedges on the Chained CPI

Here is the response I got from him following the email I sent the other day.  Menendez is a pretty liberal guy so if this is the best he can do, we’re screwed.

There are two things that Menendez should keep in mind. 1.) If in doubt, ask the actuaries for the data.  Modeling the numbers is not difficult.  Then you will be able to see if there is a cut and how big it is. 2.) Think about the generation that is between 45-55 years old.  We worked our asses off for this country with fewer days off or retirement compensation than most developed countries. Imposing a Chained CPI on us would be like an American version of a sumptuary law, forcing us to forgo goods and services we had planned on acquiring when we retired.  If we had known 30 years ago that a bunch of hard ass Republicans and media pundits would sacrifice us in order to keep their Bush tax cuts, we would have never put up with the surplus payroll tax.  It’s fraudulent to change the rules now.

We’re not stupid enough to believe this is going to strengthen anything, especially social security.:

Dear Ms. X:

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to the use of the Chained Consumer Price Index (C-CPI-U).  Your opinion is very important to me, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you about this important issue.

As you know, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a very important measure of inflation used by the federal government.  The current CPI does not take into account the changes in consumer spending patterns as consumers substitute more expensive goods for similar less expensive goods.  To get an alternative estimate of the effect of consumer substitution, the Bureau of Labor Statistics created the C-CPI-U for consumers, which reflects changes both in prices and the composition of consumer purchasing habits.

While the C-CPI-U may calculate a more accurate estimate of inflation that consumers face, some are concerned that this change will have the effect of reducing future Social Security benefits if it is used to calculate the annual cost-of-living adjustments.

I have not taken a position on this specific issue, but rest assured that I will keep your views in mind. I strongly believe that we must protect and strengthen Social Security because it is the main source of retirement income for millions of seniors.  Social Security benefits provide essential financial security to our nation’s seniors.  Rest assured, as I have done throughout my career, I will continue fighting to keep Social Security strong for generations to come.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.  Please do not hesitate to contact me once again if I can be of further assistance.  I invite you to visit my website (http://menendez.senate.gov) to learn more about how I am standing up for New Jersey families in the United States Senate.

Wayne LaPierre wants to turn school into a combat zone

Getting ready for school

Getting ready for school

It’s hard to believe that the NRA thinks it can get any traction by upping the ante in school hallways.  But I was on the school board once upon a time and I know that when parents feel threatened, they become somewhat, um, irrational.  (Remind me to tell you about the woman who threw a baggie full of her daughter’s golden lice ridden hair at the BOE and demanded we shut the schools down until the critters were gone for good.  True story.  Oh, the stories I could tell.)

The NRA’s Wayne La Pierre said this today:

“The only way — the only way — to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection,” Mr. LaPierre said. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Gun-free school zones identified by signs, he said, serve only to “tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to effect maximum mayhem with minimum risk.”

“So why is the idea of a gun good when it’s used to protect the president of our country or our police but bad when it’s used to protect our children in our schools?” he continued. “They’re our kids. They’re our responsibility. And it’s not just our duty to protect them; it’s our right to protect them.”

Clever.  LaPierre goes right to the gut, which has been well known to circumvent the brain, especially when it comes to parents and their children.  What might be lost on parents, but certainly not lost on LaPierre, is that the latest gun catastrophe is a primo business opportunity.

If you’re terrified that your kids are going to be slaughtered on the way to second period, no amount of protection will be sufficient. I don’t think making schools into fortresses with armed guards is enough.  Can we get some razor wire on the 20 foot fence?  How about kevlar body armor for everyone, K-12?  And forget gym class.  We can have target practice every day, mandatory.

Because, according to LaPierre, childhood is for sissies and slackers.  The “only way” to keep insane killers from killing our kids is to arm ourselves to the teeth, terrify parents and watch all that property tax money flow to the security industry instead of the string program or the arts teachers.

It’s the only way.  Increasing the separation between insane killers and their guns will not work.  Or we could try never allowing our kids to leave the womb.  That might work.  Don’t think it hasn’t crossed some parents’ minds.

But doesn’t that mean that the persons with the most freedom and liberty are insane killers with guns?  They’re apparently allowed to do whatever they want.  There’s no stopping them.  And if you aren’t packing heat, well, then you’re asking for it.  We can’t deprive these people of their right to be both insane and armed.

LaPierre is probably Ok with cuts to Social Security too.  Damn seniors need to learn to hunt for their dinner.

******************

In the same NYTimes article, US Rep Mike Thompson (D California) made this disturbing statement:

“Everyone agrees our schools, movie theaters shopping malls, streets and communities need to be safer,” said a statement by Representative Mike Thompson, Democrat of California. “But we need a comprehensive approach that goes beyond just arming more people with more guns to make this happen.”

I don’t agree that what we need is to make public spaces safer.  The burden and expense keeps getting dumped on the innocent who can’t move around freely and must always be on their guard.  I’m really shocked that a Democrat would make this statement.  It’s a complete capitulation to the security industry.  That’s how they want us to feel- like no place is safe enough.  Shame on Thompson.  He needs to be calming people down, not giving into their gut reactions to an insane act.

******************

Lenore Skenazy at FreeRangeKids posts about  the fallout of Sandy Hook that results in disintegration of community spirit and increase in distrust.  I doubt that insane killers care one way or the other but the 1% are absolutely delighted that we’re eyeing each other and keeping our distances.

Hmmm, maybe what we need is Family Movie Night:

Hey, We’re still here!

Another “End-of-the-World” Scenario has come and gone.  Of course, for those folks out there who absolutely refuse to enjoy this world and the people in it because it is not pure, there will be another calculation.  They’re probably checking their math this morning, wondering if they forgot to carry a ten.  Or maybe they’re debating Julian vs Gregorian calendars.  Or, more likely, they’re simultaneously guilty about using numerology and praying that God doesn’t strike them dead for trying to outfox him.

But it never hurts to be prepared for anything, zombies included.

 

Joy to the World in the Season of Light

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