Wednesday, January 27, 2010

now every day will be bring your gun to work day!

i know why the indy star wants to focus on the gun permit bill that passed the indiana house yesterday: because they can frame it as being all about the indy star. ("remember that awesome expose we did about people getting gun permits who didn't deserve them? the state legislature wants to make that data private!") but that's no excuse for effectively burying news about the other gun bill that passed—a bill that will surely end in people getting shot.

the bill, which has passed both houses, will make it illegal for employers (with a few exceptions) to ban employees from bringing their guns to work, as long as the guns stay locked in the trunk. it's hard to believe they'd pass something so foolish and short-sighted, but this is the indiana legislature we're talking about here.

the workplace is a place where tempers often become frayed. this is particularly true when someone is fired or laid off. i can recall more than one occasion when the police had to be called to escort a pissed-off now-ex-employee from the building. in the heat of such passions, people can act quite foolishly. yes, even violently. add guns to the mix, and it doesn't take nostradamus to predict the inevitable.

mark my words: people will be killed thanks to this law being passed. sooner or later, an angry employee is going to get that gun from their trunk and shoot someone (or more than one someone). it's only a matter of time. and when that happens, the indiana legislature will have blood on their hands.

to paraphrase an argument i've seen infinity times regarding smoking bans: if you want to work someplace where you can bring your gun, then find another job! don't change the law to force property owners to allow unwanted weapons on their property. you do not have the right to be armed at work if your employer doesn't want you to be.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the moment of truth

i've watched with frustration for months as democrats—primarily those in the senate, but with assistance of those in the white house and house of representatives—struggled and stumbled to pass health care reform, as they wasted their time trying to negotiate with republicans who would clearly never support reform in any fashion, as they watered it down and traded away much-needed reforms in order to appease the more cowardly in their caucus, as they debated incessantly about a bill they should have been able to pass months ago.

it goes without saying that much of the blame rests with republicans, who have been determined to obstruct and filibuster every part of president obama's agenda, as well as with the national media, which has eagerly embraced right-wing narratives and enabled gop obstructionism, and with senate rules that make it so easy for the minority party to block progress. but ultimately, democrats have been in charge of the white house and both houses of congress, and even their supposed filibuster-proof majority hasn't been enough for them to get this done yet. it should never have come to this; the democrats' strategic choices have led us to this position, where a full year after the 2008 elections, health care reform is still in limbo.

so it's disheartening that ted kennedy's sentate seat has fallen to a republican, that cowardly democrats retreating rather than holding ground, that health care reform appears to be in real danger now that dems "only" have 59 votes in the senate and those in the house are grumbling that they just don't want to pass the senate version of the health care bill. the idea that democrats would allow HCR to fail, now after coming so far, is disheartening to say the least. disheartening not just because the system so desperately needs reform, but because failure to pass some sort of reform is political suicide, effectively telling the electorate that democrats are incapable of getting anything done.

so i was in need of a chuckle this morning, and fortunately, paul ogden delivered. ogden has a habit of pontificating about subjects he doesn't understand and hasn't bothered to study (see his posts on global warming or nonprofit compensation), and his post from this morning about scott brown's win in massachusetts continues that trend.

the crux of his post is his belief that democrats are poised to lose a lot of seats in congress come november—a claim that's likely to come true but which is nonetheless ironic considering that he begins the post by criticizing another blog for making electoral predictions too early. but then, in the middle of his post, he makes this absurd assertion: "President Obama pulled out all stops to hold on to the Democratic seat. The election came down to a referendum on Obama and the health care bill, and the Democrats lost."

how could anyone who paid even the slightest bit of attention to the massachusetts special election claim that obama "pulled out all stops" to hold on to this seat? i ask this as someone who just returned from a week-and-a-half-long vacation, where i didn't follow the news at all, yet still i had to laugh. by all accounts, coakley ran a lousy campaign. president obama wasn't even asked to campaign for coakley until 10 days before the election. on the afternoon of the election, while ballots were still being cast, the coakley campaign sent out a memo blaming obama and the national party for not getting involved soon enough. yet ogden claims that obama "pulled out all stops". did ogden read even a single news report about this race? even by ogden standards, he was hilariously wrong, and i must thank him for the comic relief.

the economy is still bad. unemployment is too high. economists agree that the stimulus has been working, but it was too small. these are problems that the democrats inherited, but they're in charge so they own them now. people are mad about the economy, and yes, if things don't turn around soon, the democrats will surely lose seats come november. but there is still time to reverse the damage, if democrats in congress can find their spines. first, they must buck up and pass health care reform, or else they send a message that they are unable to lead, incapable of getting anything done. then, they must work to fix the unemployment rate. if they do these things, they may stem the tide and hold on to their majorities. the people voted for obama and democrats in 2008 because they were hungry for change. they're still waiting.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

greetings from LA!

i forgot to bring the digital camera, so i have no photos to prove it, but i'm currently on a (working) vacation in sunny los angeles!

i'm a city boy at heart, so this is a wonderful vacation spot for me. just today, i went to a spacious comic shop and the world's largest independent record store. last weekend we attended a sold-out show headlined by one of my new favorite bands—a band that won't be coming to indy any time soon (and if they do, they surely won't be able to draw a crowd like the one they drew here).

and oh, the cuisine! in addition to partaking in delicacies like in n out burger and wienerschnitzel that we don't have in the midwest, we've eaten hawaiian bbq, sushi, filipino, thai, and authentic mexican, and supped on fancy sandwiches at the place that claims to have invented the french dip! and there's so much more to try: we hope to eat haitian, bangladeshi, and maybe korean bbq, and probably won't have time to eat ethiopian, guatemalan, salvadorian, or california pizza kitchen, as we'd hoped. and that's not even mentioning the hip little cafes and the many quality donut shops!

the trip has had its down sides, as well. we've been having a hell of a time connecting to the free WPA wi-fi here at the motel, a problem apparently caused by microsoft's half-assed support for windows XP. and since this is a working vacation, daily internet access is a must. as such, i've spent way too much time and money at a nearby coffee shop, using their easier-to-connect-to WEP network. today, this problem culminated in me scraping against a wrought-iron fence as i tried to navigate out of the coffee shop's tiny, labyrinthine parking lot. i'm unharmed, but the paint on our rental car is not, and the deductible for my car insurance is an expense we hadn't budgeted for. this is exasperating—especially considering that i shouldn't have even needed to be at the coffee shop—but in the end it's just a nuisance.

(i'm writing this from the motel room. curiously, for the past few days we've been unable to connect to the motel wi-fi during the day, but had little difficulty connecting at night, once the sun has gone down. feel free to make your own wi-fi vampire joke.)

virago & i both have family in southern california, which is an added bonus. tomorrow, we'll get to spend some time with my aunt and cousin who live in orange county; saturday we'll get to see virago's father & siblings, and presumably head down to the beach. then it will be back to the land of cold and snow. i'll be a little sad to return, but then again i'll be delighted to see our poor lonely kitty again. and she'll surely be glad to see us—she's so shy that she hides whenever anyone other than the two of us comes into the apartment.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

a tale of two colonels

this has to be the indianapolis photo of the month:

a grinning mayor ballard and a professional colonel sanders lookalike pose alongside a fire extinguisher that has been emblazoned with the KFC logo. those wings are fiery... and grilled!