Monthly Archives: August 2012

Slaughterhouse USA

Two weeks ago I posted about the deaths of people at the hands of semi-automatic weapons. Since then in Youngstown 8-year old Bryce Linebaugh was murdered in his bed by a bullet fired from an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle. The suspected shooter Shawn Ramone Wilson was actually targeting a different apartment and sprayed bullets into the Linebaugh’s instead. I’m being told Wilson was a convicted felon and was not eligible to own a firearm. On the Northside three teenagers (none old enough to buy a gun) were pulled over and found to have drugs and two handguns and an assault rifle. In nearby Warren a woman accidentally discharged her handgun while showing it to her 11-year old nephew. The bullet went through her window and through her neighbor’s window. A Warren couple was awoken by their home being riddled with 17 bullets and their car set on fire. So we have felons and minors with guns and irresponsible owners now let’s move on to drunks with guns. In Warren Pamela Dial is listed in critical condition with a bullet in the head. A stray bullet entered her home from the parking lot of the Olympic Bar next door. Mrs. Dial had spoken to her councilman with her concerns about the bar on the afternoon prior to the shooting. Police reports show at least two arrests involving weapons in the bar’s parking lot this summer. The bar’s owner said, the bar will stay closed ”as a sign of our deepest sympathy and respect for Pamela and her family.”

Since my last post, Texas Governor Rick Perry said, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families in this senseless tragedy.” He was referring to a Texas law enforcement officer who was shot and killed as he brought an eviction notice to a house near Texas A&M University. The officer, a 65 year-old man and the shooter were killed. Three other law enforcement officers and a 55-year-old woman were wounded, in the shootings. The shooter’s sister said, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and this is just a senseless tragedy.” The shooter had mental problems but was still able to obtain weapons. His Facebook page included photographs of rifles he had said he had acquired, including a Czech vz 58 assault rifle. Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin issued a statement calling the shooting a “sad day in the Bryan-College Station community.” After GOP Gov. Rick Perry mourned the dead and wounded he quickly spoke out against any increased gun control. He remembered that the NRA heavily butters his campaign bread. The republican presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney wanted to keep his NRA bread fresh and buttered so he quickly chimed in at a Miami news conference that there should be no change to current gun laws. “This is not a matter of the weapon that’s used,” Romney told reporters. “It’s the matter of individuals and the choices they make. … I don’t think gun laws are the answer.”

None of these politicians will talk about the choices being made to do nothing but mourn the dead and wounded. Governors and other politicians will continue to fear the NRA. In doing this they will need to brush up on their skills saying, “My prayers are with those that have been killed or injured blah, blah blah…….” They can then follow the rest of the established drill by mourning the victims, putting up a plaque, setting up a bank account the public can contribute to for medical bills for the wounded and funeral expenses for families of the dead. Next the politicians can go back to business as usual and wait for it to happen again and again. Lather, rinse and repeat over and over, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Meanwhile, the public buys more and more guns after every shooting. With all those gun purchases the gun corporations that own the NRA get richer and richer. Being richer the NRA now has more money to buy more politicians who will protect second amendment rights that are way beyond anything the Founding Fathers could have envisioned.  Speeches mourning the dead killed by shooters mean nothing until these same politicians get the balls to take on the NRA. The big growth jobs until someone stands up to the NRA will be grief counselors, undertakers and “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families in this senseless tragedy” speech writers.

Strangely enough as I sit here Friday typing this I get this message across my computer screen, “New York City police say at least four people have been shot outside the Empire State Building and that the gunman is dead. A witness says the shooter was firing indiscriminately.” It’s all just another day in Slaughterhouse USA.

Avett Brothers: Murder in the City

Live and Die

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” ~  a headstone in Ireland

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A Visit We Shouldn’t Relish

The Warren Tribune just had a front page article on GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) stopping at the Hot Dog Shoppe in Warren, Ohio. This brings me to my pick of idiot of the week. That would be John Brown of Warren a customer at the Hot Dog Shoppe. John who claimed he had been a Democrat for many years says he is voting for Romney/Ryan. He continued, “I don’t see Democrats doing anything for this Valley.” I am not the only one calling John Brown an idiot because the front page of the same days Warren Tribune also does. It says, “69 million dollar manufacturing initiative to be based in Youngstown.” Our congressman Tim Ryan (D) and Rep. Jason  Altmire (D) of Pennsylvania conceived the Tech belt initiative along with area businesses and educational institutions to help create new industry and jobs for our valley. President Obama’s administration helped back this federal program for our area. President Obama also helped save GM and thousands of jobs at GM’s Lordstown plant. Willard Mitt Romney on the other hand has said he would have let GM go bankrupt and close plants. Meanwhile I must say the GOP has finally helped our area financially. That was done when Paul Ryan visited Warren. You see he picked up the tab at the Hot Dog Shoppe for him and a few others. Paul helped our valley by spending $8.78. I have no word on whether he left a tip.

Rep. Paul Ryan took awhile to order and ended up asking the owner what to order. I laughed when I read this comment on Vindy.com by Another AverageCitizen: “Wow. If he needs help making a decision on what to order at a hot dog shop, just wonder what help he needs on a real issue. A great decision maker. One we can be proud of.” No word on whether Ryan liked the Hot Dog Shoppe’s hot dogs. His endorsement of them would have meant something as Rep Ryan worked as an Oscar Mayer salesman during college. He’s even drove the Wienermobile.

The Weekly Standard covered Paul’s visit to NE Ohio. They quoted Eleanor Constantino who was at the Hot Dog Shoppe. Here is what she said, “I’d been a Democrat for 50 years, but the last 10 years I’ve been strictly Republican,” Why did she switch sides? “Because I’m pro-life. And that’s it. That changed me completely.” I guess Eleanor thinks the GOP being for the Death Penalty and starting a war in Iraq based on a lie that has caused the death of 4500 US soldiers and 118,209 civilians is pro-life. “Hey Paul, Good luck! Kick ass!” yelled Emma an elderly woman from Howland to Ryan who was placing his order with the cashier. Eleanor if you value liberty then Paul Ryan is going to kick YOUR ass based on his record of shredding the Constitution as seen here.

“He’s going to save Medicare,” chimed in Eleanor’s friend Karen Combs from Cortland, Ohio about Romney/Ryan. She continued, “There’s $700 billion under Obamacare coming out of Medicare, and seniors should be more frightened over that.” What is frightening to me is how people like Karen won’t spend any time researching facts and is willing to accept 30 second TV sound bites. Karen if you were investing money in a mutual fund for your future would you do any research or would you just go with what a broker for that fund says?

To me this election is about the future my children will have to live with. Knowing that I’m willing to do some research and use a little common sense. Let’s start with Romney who as governor of Massachusetts had the state’s job growth rate at 47th in the nation. That is in a state with higher-than-average education levels. The infrastructure of Massachusetts under Willard Mitt was left terribly in need of repairs. He never raised personal income taxes as governor. But he increased government fees such as doubling fees for court filings, marriage licensing fees, professional registrations and firearm licenses. He also quintupled the per gallon delivery fee for gasoline. All together, the fees raised more than $400 million in their first year.  In 2004, Mitt cut nearly 5 percent, or about $230 million, from the local aid budget to cities and counties. The Massachusetts Municipal Association, representing the state’s cities and towns, said Romney’s cuts “forced communities statewide to cut services and raise local taxes and fees.” “According to Moody’s State Debt Medians, in 2007 — the year Romney left office — Massachusetts had the highest debt per capita of any state in the country, $4,153. Connecticut ranked second, with $3,713, and Hawaii third, with $3,630.” Add in Willard Mitt’s closing businesses and exporting jobs record at Bain Capital and you have an incompetent Governor and an unscrupulous businessman. You would think such a terrible combination could never get elected for president but then you’d have forgotten G. W. Bush. So Karen I’ve done the research for you and here is the true story of President Obama’s cuts to Medicare.

Since I mentioned the Warren Tribune, did you notice all of the annual community writers they hired this year are all conservatives? Anyone surprised by this local newspaper that does not represent the working-class values of our valley?

Q: What do an empty hot dog bun and  Rep. Paul Ryan have in common? A:  They’re both “hollow-weenies!”

Q: What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor? A: “Make me one with everything.”

Arrogant Worms: Hot Dog Song

Don’t Go Into Politics

The noblest of all dogs is the hot-dog; it feeds the hand that bites it.” ~ Lawrence J. Peter.

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Just One More Corporation With a Greedy Agenda

 The NRA and the politicians they own have decided that the mass murdering shooting sprees our nation constantly has are a great benefit to the gun industry. That is because gun and ammunition sales have gone up after each terrible shooting spree we have in our nation. To continue the economic boost in the weapons industry the politicians have been looking for ways to increase the deaths. The first way was letting the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expire on September 13, 2004. There have been many attempts to renew the ban, but no bill has been able to reach the floor for a vote. Part of that ban that ended in 2004 was limiting the sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines. A Glock 19 was used by the shooter in Tucson that killed six and wounded 19 including wounded Rep. Gabriel Giffords. The Glock 19 holds a 15 round factory magazine but the shooter had an extended clip that held 33 bullets. Under the Assault Weapons Ban ammunition magazines could only have 10 bullets. Two days after the Tucson shooting sales of handguns in Arizona jumped 60 percent. Of all the pistols sold, the Glock model used in the Tucson shooting was among the most popular sold. The more bullets a gun can hold means that many more people can die. The more people that are killed the more gun sales we have so the NRA is fighting hard to stop any ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

We had a shooting at an Aurora, Colorado theater that killed 12 and injured 58. One of the three guns the shooter was carrying was a semi-automatic Smith & Wesson AR-15 assault rifle equipped with high-capacity magazines. In Oak Creek, Wisconsin a white supremacist gunman killed six people and critically wounded three at a Sikh temple. He was shot by a responding officer, and then fatally shot himself in the head. Authorities are treating it as an act of domestic terrorism. The shooter used a Springfield 9mm semi-automatic handgun to carry out the attack. Semi-automatic handguns are the weapon of choice for mass murderers because they are light and easy to conceal, and adaptable to using high-capacity head magazines, experts say. This allows the shooter to fire the maximum number of bullets in a short period of time.

It is thought the shooter killed Sikh’s thinking because they wore turbans they were Muslims. No one ever said white supremacist neo-Nazi types were bright. Sikhs in the Madison area and around the country offered prayers and turned to lessons of tolerance and peace to deal with the massacre. That display of peace and not anger after such a horrible event was last seen in 2006. That is when a shooter killed five Amish children in a one-room school in Lancaster County, Pa. Sikhism teaches to respect all other religions and that people should defend the rights of not just their own religion but the religion and faith of others as a human right. The emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation was also the response of the Amish community after the school shooting tragedy. The response by both the Amish and Sikh communities inspired by faith is an inspiration in tolerance. Tolerance for others who are different from us will go a long way to making this a better planet.

On the other hand it is way past time to tolerate the insanity of the NRA and their political stooges who want to turn places like schools, theaters, hospitals, churches, temples, bars, malls etc. into combat zones with concealed carry permits. What do you call 12 dead 58 injured in Aurora, Colorado, 5 killed in Lancaster County, 6 killed 3 wounded in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, an Edmond, Oklahoma post office shooting that left 14 employees dead and six wounded, 32 killed and 25 wounded at Virginia, Tech, 14 dead and 27 injured in Littleton, Colorado, 16 killed at the University of Texas and closer to home 3 dead and 2 wounded in Chardon, Ohio? You call those 102 dead and 121 wounded  not enough dead for politicians to have the balls to take on the NRA. The dead are just forgotten and collateral damage next to the might of the NRA. Everyday 87 Americans die by gun violence and 183 are wounded. I can’t imagine how big of a murder spree it would take to get our politicians to take action.

Wayne LaPierre Head of the NRA would have you believe that most donations come from small donors. Since 2005, corporations (75% of them being in the firearms industry) have given in total up to $52.6 million to the NRA. This fact shows that the NRA is corporate owned and represents the views of those corporations more than the views of its 4.3 million members. The NRA even spent over $100,000 to defeat a republican woman in the Tennessee state legislature. The woman was a big NRA supporter but they helped her Republican opponent in the primary defeat her because she had disagreed with them on one issue. The NRA did not care about the First Amendment rights of small business owners in this case only the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. The NRA issues of not wanting to ban cop killer bullets, gun-show loop holes, internet sales, background checks and high-capacity ammunition magazines aren’t  even supported by many of its members.  Lots of innocent people are dead because of the NRA’s irresponsible support of these issues. The NRA writes those deaths off as “the price we pay for freedom” in the United States.

Now that the NRA is bought and paid for by the firearms industry they have a corporate agenda not an American agenda. That agenda showed after the Denver Theater shooting. Three days after a gunman murdered 12 and wounded 58, the National Rifle Association sent out a letter asking for money. “The future of your Second Amendment rights will be at stake,” the letter said. “And nothing less than the future of our country and our freedom will be at stake.” This is pretty much the same standard business letter the NRA sends out for funds after every shooting or anytime a democrat is elected president. President Obama has been given an F in every category by gun control advocates. That hasn’t stopped the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre from saying that President Obama is going to confiscate guns if he gets re-elected. Now that the NRA is corporate owned their spokesman Wayne will say anything to keep those dollars coming in to feed his $1,263,101 per year compensation. Why does the NRA need so much money? It’s because the NRA spends about $5 million a year lobbying and flooding elections with cash. Let’s face it buying politicians is not cheap. On the other hand you don’t get much quality for your money.

After every mass shooting the politicians will say it is not a good time to take on the NRA. Those owned by the NRA fear not getting their NRA checks in the mail and those who don’t support the NRA fear saying something that will make the NRA send a massive war chest to their opponent in the next election. I don’t support confiscating guns but I do support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, internet sales, gun-show loopholes and want background checks.

The NRA and the gun companies that own it only fear two attacks. The first attack is by people who are fed up with mass murders by gun totting terrorists. The NRA also fears politician that will stand up to them, that is why they spend a small fortune to defeat such politicians. It is time to wake up and realize that the NRA is just one more corporation that wants to buy our politicians and push their corporate agenda at all costs. They are not about protecting the Second Amendment they are about selling guns to make themselves rich at any cost. To fight these corporations we are going to have to invest plenty of time, solidarity, blood, sweat and tears as that will be “the price we pay for freedom” in the United States.

I agree with this politicians 2002 view on gun control.

Tom Paxton: Buy a Gun For Your Son

also: Johnny Got A Gun

“I don’t line up with the NRA.”~ Mitt Romney 1994. In 1994 Romney stressed that he supported the Assault Weapons Bill. The  bill banned 19 different types of assault weapons — which the NRA opposed. At the time, Romney also voiced support for the Brady Bill, which imposed a five-day waiting period on gun sales. The NRA opposed that bill.

Hypocrite of the week: The caller to WKBN talk radio that said she voted against a Columbiana County school levy. She then identified herself as a retired public school teacher.

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Bigotry Leaves a Bad Taste in My Mouth

 My father was a small businessman who retired recently at the age of 82. He ran his own barbershop for over 50 years. He provided quite a few other barbers who were his employees with jobs that earned more than a livable wage over those 50 years.  It wasn’t easy growing up in a family that had a father who was a small businessman. I have to say those years of long hair on guys during the 1960’s and 1970’s were some lean years for our family. My dad sold his shop and misses going to work but his fingers are bent with arthritis from years of holding electric clippers that vibrate something awful. Dad was great at customer service doing something very well that I realized I would never be able to do. That thing kept me from ever wanting to be a barber. That was being able to hold my tongue and tolerate things customers said that I strongly disagreed with. Things were said to my dad that I knew he didn’t agree with concerning politics and social issues.  Dad was very skilled at just merely changing the subject by saying something like, “How is your garden looking this summer?” Like my dad I have never been interested in watching sports and following teams. When customers were in the shop arguing about things like the Steelers vs the Browns dad would just say I don’t follow sports and try to change the subject. He also avoided conversations about GM vs Ford products by having owned both. He didn’t have a motorcycle so it was easy to avoid arguments about which was better Harley’s or Japanese motorcycles.

This brings me to the difference between small businessmen and large corporations. Many of the corporations have agendas that definitely don’t jive with those of their customers. In these times when you can get on the computer and do research on these corporations you can’t say that these corporations’ agendas are hidden.  Is there any human in the USA that is smart enough to breathe air that doesn’t know that Walmart/Sam’s Club is on the wrong side of every social justice issue you can name? I would question if you are smart enough to breathe air if you still patronized Walmart/Sam’s Club. Are you in a union and drink Yuengling Beer who busted their union? Do you drink Coors who started the Heritage Foundation a right-wing think tank that pushes an agenda that is an affront to any working class person in the USA? Do you drink Snapple products that have advertised from day one on the right-wing’s chief propagandist the world’s richest drug addict Rush Limbaugh?

This brings me to the latest corporation that preaches hate and still thinks you should buy their products. I’m talking about Chic-fil-A whose Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy made anti-gay marriage comments during a radio interview.  He said, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at (God) and say, ‘We know better than You what constitutes a marriage. “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think we would have the audacity to redefine what marriage is all about.” This led to an outcry from the LGTG community who decided to boycott and picket Chick-fil-A. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee ex-Arkansas governor and one time presidential candidate called for Christians to patronize Chick-fil-A on Wednesday. Many black Southern ministers at evangelical churches who have forgotten their own battles with discrimination told their congregations to show support to Chick-fil-A ‘s discriminating remarks against gays by eating there.

Lots of folks came to eat at Chick-fil-A Wednesday saying they support Dan Cathy’s right to free speech. I also support Cathy’s right to free speech even though I think businessmen should be like my father and know when not to have opinions. Around the country Chick-fil-A workers reported disturbing comments. Ones like this, “I’m so glad you don’t support the queers, I can eat in peace.” Another worker in Colorado had customers telling him, “I support your company, because your company hates the gays.” Many report experiencing homophobia not just from customers, but from fellow employees as well. A  gay worker said, “The people I work alongside kept going on and on about how powerful it was to be part of such a righteous movement, and how encouraged they were to know that there were so many people who agree with Dan Cathy. They went on at great length about how it was wrong not just for gays to marry, but to exist.” Journalist Mark  Krzos of The News-Press in Fort Myers, Florida, wrote on Facebook that covering Chick-fil-A yesterday was incredibly disheartening. “I have never felt so alien in my own country as I did today while covering the restaurant’s supporters. The level of hatred, unfounded fear and misinformed people was astoundingly sad. I can’t even print some of the things people said.”

At the Boardman, Ohio Chcik-fil-A people were lined up to get in and the drive thru window was bumper to bumper all day long. The Vindicator said, “Many of the diners were on hand to show their support for freedom of speech, regardless of their positions on gay marriage.” I am not buying it for a second that any of the customers support gay marriage. I believe the issue is that the customers are homophobic and don’t care anything about free speech. One customer at the Boardman store confronted half a dozen protestors who support gay marriage without caring about their rights to free speech. Sherry Leasure, who came to the Boardman restaurant from Bristolville with her granddaughter said, “This is about supporting the Cathy family.” She then admitted she opposes same-sex marriage. She continued, “This is about private enterprise. The liberal media can say whatever they want, but when conservative Christians speak up, they get pummeled.” Well, Sherry you’re free to be a bigot, but people who disagree are free to get angry.

 Seems to me like I remember “good Christians” and the conservative media pummeling the Dixie Chicks when they made comments against President GW Bush. Seems to me I also remember the “good Christians” mounting  protests and boycotts against companies like Disney for being gay-friendly. I also remember intolerant “good Christians” boycotting JC Penny because Ellen DeGeneres was hired to do commercials for them. I recall “good Christians” trying to stop a Muslim community center from being built blocks away from Ground Zero.  Then there are the Mosques that have been fire bombed or vandalized by “good Christians.” Also I protested against GW on two of his appearances and I was put with other protestors behind a “first amendment fence” miles away from where he would see our right to free speech.  GW supporters walked by us and laughed at the fact we were contained by police behind a fence. They had no thoughts at all about fellow Americans being denied their rights.  Where were you Sherry Leasure to defend my right to speak up?

Truth is Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A have gone far beyond exercising their first amendment right to free speech and that is where I see the problem. Chick-fil-A has donated $5 million to organizations (and  even a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has certified as a hate group) that, want to depict gays as pedophiles, say gays should be exported, want to make gay behavior illegal and that supported a potential law in Uganda that would have imposed the death penalty on gays. Dan Cathy isn’t the only Cathy family member who believes in discrimination. His dad, CEO Truett Cathy has said he wanted to hire married people because they are more industrious and productive. His company has had at least 12 discrimination law suits waged against it, most of which they have settled out of court. Some include trying to force single women out of the workplace so they could be “stay at home Moms.” Truett has also said he would probably fire someone who “has been sinful or done something harmful to their family members.” Sounds to me like Dan and Truett like to play God more than worship him.

 Some employees have reported that the Chcik-fil-A’s they work at have forced them to pray. Can you imagine the outcry from “good Christians” if they heard that a business owned by Muslims was forcing their employees to pray?  Let’s pretend for a moment that you are the Christian God (not the Cathy family) wouldn’t you want a holy book with your exact words, thoughts and expectations in it? Instead Christians are left with the confusing New Testament and even more frustrating Old Testament that can so easily be taken out of context and is subject to so many interpretations.The Christian God either needed to hire better writers or needed to get a good editor. If you were God would you want such a holy book who”s contents can be used to justify so much hatred. I don’t have a problem with people standing up for their religion. I have a problem with people standing up for hate and saying it’s in the name of their religion.

A commentator named, ANTIYOUNGSTOWN on Vindy.com said, “Homosexuality is unnatural because there is no reason for its existence.” In a Christian (or any religion for that matter) world there is no reason for bigotry or racism to exist. Chick-fil-A stayed quiet to the media about how sales were for Wednesday on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. But according to Pastor Rick Warren, who is a well know opponent to LGBT equality, Dan Cathy phoned him to say it was a “world record day.”

My dad was all about the business and tried his best to keep his nose out of other people’s business. He worked many long hard hours to put food on our family table and provide for us. I’d suggest the Walton family, the Coors family and the Cathy family and a lot of other corporate owning families get back to taking care of their own and quit funding right-wing think tanks and hate groups in an effort to destroy the American middle-class. We have the power to easily defeat these corporations that are taking over our country because we as their customers have the weapons of mass destruction that they fear………closed wallets and purses. You have to remember that every dime you spend at a corporation is a vote for the way they do business and what they believe. Time to use those weapons for our free speech against hate. And hey Chicken-fil-A the side dish I like with my chicken is mashed potatoes not hate.

Man who made video opposing Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day is fired from his job. I don’t agree with the way he berated an employee but do defend his right to free speech. I find it odd that the people that support Dan Cathy’s free speech complained to this man’s employer to get him fired. Some of Cathy’s free speech defenders have also sent this man death threats. I guess Cathy’s defenders only believe free speech is allowed if it supports your agenda.

Chick-fil-A bullying a small businessman

The Nightwatchman: “Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine “

“Alone Without You”

“I saw with so many of the gay couples, they were so devoted to another. I saw so much love. When this hearing was over, I was a changed person in regard to this issue. I felt that I understood what same-sex couples were looking for.” — Maryland state Del. Wade Kach (R), Feb. 23, 2012, telling reporters how meeting with gay couples led him to vote to legalize gay marriage in the state.

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