Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday Morning Rocker

will say I got some immediate results from your prayers and good wishes. I had a consult with a neurologist on Thursday, and she went back and did the spinal MRIs with contrast. That revealed that there was no greater growth either in the intervening week since the first MRIs nor were there any other involvements beyond the nodes that were first noted in the lumbar spine.

The more promising news was that she ordered a lumbar puncture (gosh that makes me think of the name of a rock 'n roll band). I wondered what she was thinking of, but I'm a piece of 200 pound meet in their hands. I was in the neighborhoods for MRIs so I might as well have a tap.

Last night about 7 o'clock the neurologist checked in with me and said that the lumbar indicated some levels of infection in the lower extremities. They are waiting for more detail lab results to determine whether the infection is biological, viral, or fungal. Meanwhile I have been cranked up on a broad range of antibiotics of which come in pill form all of which are funneling through my handy dandy Power Port.

Whether this means that something can be done about the loss of feeling in my legs or not remains to be seen. It does offer some level of hope for some return to normal mobility.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Unicameral Legislature

But Mr. Reid said the House Republicans should forget about passing their bill and not bother sending the Senate anything, but instead go deal with President Obama

That's what the Majority Leader of the Senate said. The nation is on the verge of falling off a fiscal cliff. Make no mistake this is well beyond the question of extension of tax cuts for the middle class and the imposition of more draconian taxes on the wealthiest 2%. This is a package that may impact 100 million American taxpayers if only with regard to the application of the AMT, the alternative minimum tax. It is loaded with taxes on things like inheritances, dividends, capital gains, and of course good old-fashioned income. If you are successful you can be guaranteed that it will penalize you.

Somehow we've managed to watch the Republican talking heads continually offer nothing with regard to the reduction of either the deficit or federal spending while demanding that taxes on the successful must be raised. They don't offer compromise they demand total compliance. And yet, the American people seem to be embracing the belief that when what appears to be inevitable occurs, it will be the fault of the Republicans who repeatedly pass proposals which may be negotiable but are arguably constructive in the House of Representatives.

Now, with four working days until the new year, we have the Majority Leader of the Senate saying that he is not going to act on the proposal that will undoubtedly be passed by the House of Representatives. He tells the speaker to take it to the president. Apparently Sen. Reid has never read article 1 of the Constitution that describes the bicameral legislature. He seems unaware that the two chambers working together offer a balance in perspectives for enactment of national laws. He obstructs, refuses to act, and then continues to blame the house that puts legislative proposals before him.

Reid Goes Home Send Speaker to White House

If legislation and fiscal policy is handled by the House of Representatives and the Pres. we might ask Majority Leader Reid to pack up his tent and go back to Nevada. If he will not debate, if you cannot support his positions, if he will not pursue bipartisan action on the nations problems, there is really no rationale for continuing to support the United States Senate.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Revised ETA

With the flood of discussion on gun control and acting to "save the children" it is worth taking a few minutes to consider some of the tragedies that have occurred in the last 10 years to prompt this debate. I don't need to list the events for you to recall the tragedies I am talking about. We are all familiar.

There's only one thing I would ask you to consider. From the time the first shot was fired in one of these mass shootings by a wacko with a gun that is already illegal for him to possess how long does it take for the first of the first responders to arrive and to TAKE POSITIVE ACTION TO TERMINATE THE TRAGEDY?

Biden Takes the Disarmament Lead

The shooting starts, disarmed and helpless people in a gun free zone are dying, the SWAT team arrives and what do they do? Typically the tragedy is over, and the shooter has either fled or killed himself. The SWAT team establishes a perimeter, checks their command radio net, dons their snappy black fatigues, balaclavas, helmets, suspension gear, and stands around outside the building while ensuring that firing from within has ceased.

If we could point to one or more episodes in which the arrival of the SWAT team or the local police department has resulted in the saving of a life I would be willing to continue this discussion.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Logical questions

With remarkable predictability the Bamster has once again done the sort of thing he is indicated previously that he would not do. He comes before us pleading that we must do something about guns in America "for the children." Somehow the fundamental rights of our Constitution do not impair him. Certainly we must be concerned for children, but we also must recognize that it is impossible to have an entire society live in a Republic which is restricted to only that which might not conceivably harm a child.

No one ever notices the fact that the Second Amendment mentions not a single word about hunting, target shooting, self-defense, home protection, or collecting. The amendment doesn't apply to any of those things. The security of a free state is about protection from the oppression of the government. The armed citizenry is to safeguard of all of our rights.

As we read the newspaper or listen to the TV reporting we must continually be astonished at the ignorance of the journalists. None of them ever seems to validate a fact or even to define a term. If we seek to apply a solution shouldn't we ask if that solution has been applied in the past? If it is been applied the past shouldn't we ask if it worked? And if it didn't work shouldn't we wonder why?

What is the significance of "semi-" when placed before the word automatic in describing a gun? Everyone knows what an automatic weapon looks like. We simply must go to a movie and we will see the chattering machine guns in every scene which doesn't include several automobiles rolling over. An automatic weapon is one which starts to fire when the trigger is depressed and continues to fire without further action so long as that condition is maintained. Trigger down gun shoots.

Semi automatic is one which fires one shot each time the trigger is engaged. And hold the trigger you get one shot and no more. You must release, reset, and reengage before the second shot is fired. That seems simple enough for the average adult to comprehend. Because a particular weapon looks like an automatic or machine gun does not necessarily mean that it is.

Stop at the magazine counter in the grocery store and pick up one of the dozen or so gun magazines from the rack. Don't worry a magazine cannot shoot you. As you page through the magazine you will be astonished to notice that the form of guns characterize by either the American M-16 or the Soviet AK-47 has become common in a wide range of characters and with an incredible selection of supporting equipment to render it as a very reasonable and appropriate choice for a wide range of shooting activities. The cliché that the only purpose is "to kill people" is a joke.

Next week California Sen. Dianne Feinstein will introduce a reiteration of the 1994 assault weapons ban. That was 25 years ago. Much has changed in the design and application of modern firearms since then. That law was in effect for 10 years and we can show no demonstrable effect in reduction of violent crime. In fact the only result that we can confirm is that the attractiveness of the AR and AK style rifle increased exponentially with the prices trailing only slightly thereafter.

Sen. Feinstein proposes to restrict the sale of 100 designated brand-name "assault weapons" and high-capacity magazines. She proposes to create a list of 900 exempted firearms. It's difficult to see how that can result in a significant outcome regarding crimes against children in mass murder of atrocities.

Along the way we will hear the arguments about high-capacity "clips" meaning ammunition magazines.Once again somehow relating that statistic to lethality. Whether the shooter has a 10 round, a 20 round, or a 30 round magazine it only takes one shot to seriously injure or kill the victim. Postulate a situation in which the killer is armed with a 20 round magazine. He fires the magazine out, slaps the release, and as the magazine drops free jams a replacement in. Have we saved many lives by outlawing 30 round magazines?

Three days ago the Dallas morning news reported that the Glock handgun was favored because its light weight reduced recoil. It seems that the modern journalist never got to that basic part of high school physics which offered the formula F = MA. A lighter firearm does not result in lower recoil. It sounds simple enough but yet the world of American journalism appears unable to apply the concept.

That same reporter indicated that the Glock is commonly available-for-sale in the range of $500-$800. It then noted that the other handgun involved at Sandy Hook was a Sig. And the Sig was available for under $300. I was going to send a letter to the editor asking for a list of local gun dealers offering an array of Sig firearms at that price.

Somehow facts have little to do with this debate. In that respect it looks quite a bit like the fiscal cliff issue or even the recent presidential election.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

It was a week ago Monday that Bob Costas got off the sports track and into progressive politics during halftime for Monday night football. As he discussed an NFL player who shot his girlfriend then went down to the team headquarters and shot himself, Bob opined without constraint on how that possibly would not have happened had we only had the sort of gun control in America that we find in Chicago or maybe in the former Soviet Union. Simply take guns out of the hands of civilians and all of these shootings would go away, wouldn't they Bob?

It didn't take long for the backlash to simply point out that these arguments are old and tired and have never been supportable in the past. Costas sort of backtracked. It was hard to detect whether he didn't mean what he said, couldn't support his argument, realized you gone too far, or just trying to back away from the trouble he found himself in. In short order it became fairly apparent that NBC was not really upset with uncle Bob's editorial position.

Unfortunately we had a tragedy this last week. Once again a young adult with some difficulties in adjusting to society went off the track and engaged in mass murder. He had two handguns, but he was under 21 and therefore that was illegal. He had a semi automatic rifle, not an automatic weapon or machine gun, but the type of rifle that has been become common for hunting, target shooting, home defense, and recreational shooting. In Connecticut he would not of been able to purchase that firearm. I could go on and list another 15 or 20 laws which failed to prevent this individual from acting out this heinous crime. Would it make a difference in the agenda?

Last night, was Monday night football again. Before the game started we were advised that within the first half-hour game would be interrupted for the president to visit Newtown and express his sympathy to those who'd lost so much. We could continue to watch the game on some other channel which we could only find out locally but the primary NBC outlet would switch to the president.

This president spoke for about 20 minutes. The first five minutes were dedicated to expressions of sympathy and Christian prayer. Then with remarkable predictability he began to bewail the loss of children to the common ownership of guns by citizens in America.

In my government classes I would often warn students that when the discussion starts with phrases such as "we must do this for the children," then it is important to grab your copy of the Constitution because someone is about to constrain your fundamental rights.

If this debate evolves around the question of disarming private citizens in America on the grounds that taking away millions of privately owned firearms will somehow save a dozen children and that makes the goal worthwhile than we have a serious problem in America.

And, if we failed to note that one of the four major networks has on two consecutive weeks interrupted a sports broadcast to take a firm position on a progressive public policy then we might also have a serious problem.

Should the president proceed with gun control by Executive Order in clear violation of the Second Amendment of the Constitution we will begin to see the acceleration of the decline of our once great nation.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

And Then It Simply Went Away

The event took place on September 11, not a hard date to remember in America. Much of the Middle East was aflame on that date with major protests against a puerile anti-Mohammed video on YouTube. In Libya, however, there wasn't a real demonstration. What was occurring was a gathering of dedicated terrorists armed with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades. Their intent was not to express political displeasure, their intent was to kill the ambassador and destroy the consulate.

When the evening was through the ambassador was dead, and three other Americans had been murdered. Once again an American diplomatic post had been destroyed and America was proving powerless.

One could make a reasonable case that there was insufficient data at that point to clearly state what had occurred. Within three days, however, the intelligence assets of the United States should have been able to paint a clear picture. On that Sunday morning ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice did a marathon tour of the five major network news presentations. Repeatedly and without equivocation she asserted that it was not a terrorist act and it was an outgrowth of a popular uprising in protest against the YouTube video.

Amb. Rice appeared in lieu of the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. It was clearly stated that as soon as she would be available, Secretary Clinton would appear before the committees of the House and the Senate in Congress to report. Certainly the Secretary of State has a busy schedule and can't drop everything to report to the Congress despite what the Constitution of the United States might indicate.

Now it is more than three full months later. As the impending appearance has neared we encounter this strange confluence of events:

Stomach Virus, Dizzy Episode, Fainting, Concussion, Cancellation

The average stomach virus passes in about 72 hours. Dizziness and fainting were then, this is now. Concussion is serious business but to get such a diagnosis one would expect that even an NFL player would get a hospital evaluation. Within a matter of three or four days an appearance before the Congress particularly after more than three months of preparation would seem possible.

If Sec. Clinton's health is so frail that she cannot appear before the Congress with regard to this critical issue and her unequivocal testimony, might we not conclude that her health does not permit her to carry out the duties of her position?