Achy Obejas

writer & translator


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The NRA has a say even in your health care

nra

 

Did you think the National Rifle Association had reached its nadir when it suggested that, no matter the costs, we should put an armed guard in every school in the nation? Did you think it was a bit much that the group thought to inject itself in education policy by providing a whole gun training regimen for schools?

Here’s another NRA policy that’s right there with that flash of genius, that’s far more intrusive, and one with which the group has had some success: The Firearm Owners Privacy Act — already passed in 2011 in Florida, the nation’s loony bin — would seek to ban physicians from asking patients about gun ownership and possession.

The act basically says that doctors can ask about smoking, drinking, drugs, physical abuse, caloric intake and any other health risk factor they can come up with, but not about firearm possession. Never mind that study after study shows that even law-abiding gun owners have a higher risk of death by gunshot if they keep their weapons at home.

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Who’s Afraid of Homophobia?

AP Photo

AP Photo

Over at the Associated Press, they’ve eliminated “homophobia.” David Minthorn, co-editor of the AP Stylebook, the vade mecum of the journalism world, says that the word—and others like it such as “Islamophobia”—ascribes “a mental disability to someone, and suggests a knowledge that we don’t have.”

The AP says “homophobia” is inaccurate and instead suggests “anti-gay,” a term both more neutral and more pointed: it labels people and policies as being against gays, for whatever reason, and implies a prompt to explain those reasons.

Read the rest at In These Times

 


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Boehner’s implosion saves Obama

boehner

Just yesterday I was moaning about how President Barack Obama was about to give away the store — again — but thanks to John Boehner’s implosion, he’s been saved from himself.

In the meantime, we’ve been spared a possible Social Security cut and a few other unnecessary giveaways Obama had put on the negotiating table. At least for now.

Why did GOP Speaker of the House walk away from Obama’s deal? Well, maybe because conservative groups like Club for Growth, Heritage Foundation (Oh, Jim DeMint!), Freedom Works and every Tea Party club in the country was against a deal of any kind, especially if it involved raising taxes on at least two gazillionaires. Or maybe because Boehner removed a bunch of uncooperative right wingers from crucial committee posts just a few days ago — talk about bad timing! — and they decided it was payback time, making it impossible for the Speaker to get the necessary votes out of his own conference.

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Once more, Boehner gets the better of Obama

(AP Photo) Boehner vs. Obama

(AP Photo) Boehner vs. Obama

Perhaps you remember this year’s presidential elections, the one in which the winning candidate had a five million-vote margin of victory and won many of the toughest battlegrounds by nice little cushions: Virginia by four points, Colorado by five, Iowa and New Hampshire by six, Ohio and Florida and even the hometown of the opposing ticket’s VP candidate.

The winner, in fact, scored some historic points beyond race: He’s the first Democrat in more than 75 years to get a majority of the popular vote twice. In all of American history, only five other presidents have done that.

You probably remember talk of mandate, and you noted that though the opposing team — the Republican Party — kept control of the House of Representatives, they lost eight seats. It’s possible you know that the Democrats actually scored a vote victory in the House, withcongressional Democrats receiving one million more votes than the GOP (which had its hide saved only because of severe gerrymandering).

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Mr. President: Man up on guns

todayistheday

 

“I think it’s important, on a day like today,” said White House spokesperson Jay Carney, “to view this as I know the president, as a father, does, and others who are parents certainly do, which is to feel enormous sympathy for families that are affected and to do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement and to support those who are enduring what appears to be a very tragic event. I’m sure [there] will be rather a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I don’t think today is that day. I think that day will come, but today’s not that day.”

But as my friend Mike Siroky said: “Grow a gut. Mr. President … It was not time to talk gun control while the Democrats had no primaries. It was not time to talk gun control during the election campaign. It was not time to talk gun control in the aura of awesomeness after the decidedly supportive election. It was not time to talk control before the movie theater shootings in Colorado. It was not time to talk control after the movie theater shootings in Colorado. It was not time to talk gun control before the Sikh temple shootings a few months later. It was not time to talk gun control after the Sikh temple shootings. It was not time to talk gun control before children at their school were gunned down in Connecticut. It is not time to talk gun control now that it has happened.

“It seems it will never be time for this administration. Obama need not worry about getting elected to anything else ever again. He has no reason to worry about supposed baggage from talking gun control. He ought to be first, not last, on the bandwagon. He ought to be cracking the whip on the horses pulling the bandwagon, riding shotgun for us all. Instead, he sends out some cipher of a pensive-looking repugnant mouthpiece to tell us it is not time to talk about gun control.


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The shameful take down of Susan Rice

Susan Rice and Barack Obama during his first campaign; Rice was one of Obama's earliest backers. (AP Photo)

Susan Rice and Barack Obama during his first campaign; Rice was one of Obama’s earliest backers. (AP Photo)

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice will not be the next Secretary of State after asking President Barack Obama to withdraw her name for consideration from the post.

And, frankly, I’m kind of relieved. This means that time and energy won’t be wasted on a fight the GOP was determined to have to once more gridlock everything in Congress so that the president will have as thin a legacy as possible. (Good luck with that, given Obamacare.) It’s absolutely certain Rice would have had the votes for confirmation but it’s also absolutely certain that wouldn’t have stopped Republicans from doing everything possible to drag the matter out.

I’m also incensed at how this deal went down: a truly cheap shot on the part of a couple of senators and the right wing blogosphere having a tantrum over Obama’s continued presidency and needing to strike out at someone — anything — that could hurt him. This is spite and nothing else.

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