March 14, 2012

Last Chance Iran?

A report in the Haaretz (Israel) newspaper is out saying Secretary of State Clinton has asked her counterparts in Russia to warn Iran that military strikes are months away unless they negotiate away from their nuclear ambitions.  This isn't to say that the strikes would come from the United States... but if it comes to that, it will add yet more fuel to the volatile summer election campaigning.  

March 12, 2012

Guns and Contraceptives

Let's say you're a pacifist, and you belong to a pacifist religious organization. Maybe it's the Mennonite Central Committee, the Jewish Peace Fellowship, Pax Christi or any of numerous Quaker groups.
Let's say your organization needs a new staffer and you hire me because I'm a perfect fit for the job and an all-around wonderful human being.
Imagine that at some point during my tenure with your organization, a right-wing president and Congress so advance the cause of a citizen militia, as it existed in the Founders' day, that a law is passed mandating employers to provide employees with free guns if the employees wish to have them....
But this analogy is a near-perfect fit. Guns and contraceptives are consumer products that we all have the right to use, but the use of one or the other violates some faith-based organizations' doctrine.
There's one small difference between them, though. The right to bear arms is actually articulated in the U.S. Constitution, while the right to health care is not...

Ruth Ann Daily, Food and Weapons, they're my rights, too

March 7, 2012

The Right to Resist

For those who wonder about Indiana's Congress working on a law to allow people in their own homes to resist the police... the 68 year-old's Life Alert alarm went off. Paramedics and Police responded. When he told them he was fine and refused to open the door, the police broke it down and shot him dead.

March 1, 2012

Rest Andrew

Fiery the angels rose,
and as they rose deep thunder rolled
around their shores:
indignance, burning with the fires of Hell
and Bostons Angel cried aloud,

"Why trembles honesty
and like a murderer, seeks refuge?
Why do the generous tremble
and leave their joy to the idle,
to the pestilence that mocks them?"

So cried he, rending off his robe
and throwing down his scepter,
and all thirteen Angels
descended down on the land of America,
flame folded roaring fierce.

- William Blake


In the dead of night, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) administratively reclassified airport security screeners as Transportation Security Officers. The TSA then moved to administratively upgrade TSO's uniforms to resemble those of a federal law enforcement officer. They further completed the makeover with metal law enforcement badges. Not surprisingly, government bureaucrats at the TSA left out one crucial component during the artificial makeover – actual federal law enforcement training as is required of Federal Air Marshalls.

In order to help rein in the TSA I introduced H.R. 3608, the Stop TSA's Reach in Policy Act aka the STRIP Act. This bill will simply overturn the TSA's administrative decision by prohibiting any TSA employee who has not received federal law enforcement training from using the title "officer," wearing a police like uniform or a metal police badge. At its most basic level the STRIP Act is about truth in advertising.

Though their heart is in the right place with the STRIP act, if passed it will probably just end up costing more money by forcing TSA to recruit and train tens of thousands agents.  The whole thing should be removed from federal hands and replaced with a set of guidelines for State and Local authorities to handle.