I just got a note from the National PTA. They have issued statements supporting the families at Sandy Hook school. They will be issuing a longer statement in the coming days about gun violence and school safety. I hope that this statement will include some real calls for a renewed assault weapons ban and a return to commonsense laws about guns in public spaces. Anything less after this tragedy is just more blah, blah, and insults everyone who reads or hears the words. There is some hope finally, that the long silence on this issue will be broken. Several pro-gun Democrats (John Warner and Joe Manchin) are risking their NRA A-ranking to support gun control and even some Republicans are being forced to say what everyone knows: guns kill dads, moms,sisters, brothers, and even little 5 and 6 year old kids.
Some will say that this is a mental health issue. That is true. There is no other excuse than pure evil to do what Adam Lanza did. But it’s mostly an issue of access. Access to guns. An insane person with a knife might kill one person. An insane person with three automatic weapons can kill 20-40 in a short period of time.
Domestic gun violence is a larger threat than terrorism. Guns killed 31,000 Americans in 2010 in homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings. If Muslim extremists were doing this, we would start wars and spend billions on security systems as we did in the wake of 9/11. But our response to gun violence is to weaken our gun laws, and to promote their presence in more public spaces including churches, hospitals, bars, and even in schools.
Let us hope that our politicians will be forced to gain the courage they have lacked for so many years on this issue. The NRA is not as strong as the PTA. It is not as strong as the AARP. It is not as strong as all the moms and dads who gulped back a tear thinking about what might have happened if Sandy Hook had been their school. While some of us would like to see a wider ban of guns, we don’t even have to ban all guns to make an event like Sandy Hook dramatically less inevitable. If we don’t take action now, the blood of the children at the next school (and the next and the next) is on all of our hands.
Please voice your support of a strong national gun policy to whatever organizations you belong to, including the PTA. As Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) did in the ’80s, we can do today to restore some sanity to our daily lives.
Here we are finally at Election Day. This has to be the longest slog to the first Tuesday in November in recorded history. Even we political junkies are tired of the repetition of talking points and downward spiral of the last months. Our kids are tired too. They’ve listened to too many conventions, debates and last speeches. They long ago decided who they would vote for, along with some other choice opinions on the veracity of the candidates and their sartorial choices. They know that they have one more evening of the family huddled around the TV watching election coverage. It all comes down to this. Even though we are also in the middle of watching Harry Potter, The Deadly Hallows Part 2, with only 45 minutes left to go, they know that will have to wait until Wednesday night after all the results are in.
In past years, I’ve taken the kids to the polls with me. Cradled in a Baby Bjorn, or trailing behind in a stroller, I’ve then hoisted them up to see what daddy was doing as I scrutinized the small print of our mainly state and local ballot initiatives here in California. The kids know we take the seriously, studying up for election day the same way they do for a science or history exam. Hopefully, they take away some reverence for this democratic ritual. It’s easy to be cynical about voting since you’re only one drop in an immense ocean of ballots, X’s and chads, but as we saw in Florida in 2000, sometimes it does come down to just a few votes and they really can count, especially for local races and ballot initiatives.
So tonight, we’ll finally see how it all turns out. We had pizza last night so we’ll have to find another suitable TV-watching food for this evening, something that can be nervously nibbled at without being too bad for us. After a decade of nightly salads to combat middle-age bloat, I might need something a big more comforting to get through the night, especially since it will likely be a long one.
My plan for the evening is to get the kids at 3:30 and bring them home. They will start piano practice while I watch the last hour of pre-results coverage leading up to 8PM EST, the witching hour. Apparently, some polls will have already closed by then, so some states might already be in. By 6PM PST, we’ll already be deep into it, but with still 2/3 the country to go. By 9PM PST bedtime, maybe it will already be over but the whimpering, shouting and blaming. The experts say it might take a lot longer than that, into the wee hours, or not until a week later. For a statistical prediction of when the election will be called, check out this video by Bruce Nash, a statistician for the movie industry. He doesn’t make any predictions on who will win, but he does go state by state, based on his modeling and calls when he thinks the winner will be announced. Spoiler alert: Nash thinks you’ll be up until 4AM EST if you want to know who has finally won the big election of 2012.
I won’t say anything more than that I hope he can be as good and present a father as he can be to both of his kids.
Round two of diaper duty for Levi Johnston!
After fathering son Tripp, 3, with ex-fiance Bristol Palin, the news-making Alaskan, 21, is going to be a dad again, his rep confirmed to Us Weekly on Tuesday.
I hate taxes as much as the next dad, but taxes are sometimes good. They raise prices and change behavior, such as smoking. And often, legislators best efforts to tie taxes to consumer education (anti-smoking campaigns) or health effects (cancer research) are reversed when new legislatures need the cash to fund other pet projects (remember when lotteries were only to be used to fund education?) Often too, they are regressive, affecting poor people disproportionately. Price elasticity is real however, and anything that gets people off the sugar drink habit has to be good. People are still free to drink a Coke now and then, but are de-motivated to drink Coke for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is sometimes the case.
PARIS — France’s top constitutional body on Wednesday approved a new tax on sugary drinks that aims to fight obesity while giving a boost to state coffers.
The Constitutional Council approved the new soda tax, announced in August as part of the government’s fight against obesity and within the framework of a broader austerity programme, after it was passed in parliament last week.
The tax, which works out to one euro cent per can of drink, is expected to bring in 120 million euros ($156 million) in state revenues.
Disagree? Let me know!
Maybe at this point, it’s just piling on, but sometimes things people do with or to kids, supposedly thinking it’s all in good fun, are just too much. Here a single dad saw his daughter playing with packing tape and decided it would be funny to wrap it around her legs and hands and over her mouth and post a picture on Facebook. To make matters worse, he labeled the photo “Here’s wut (sic) happens when my baby hits me back. ; )”
And, now of course, he is clogging the courts with an aggravated assault charge. He can’t have contact with his daughter or any child under 18 while the case is pending. He is also not allowed on the Internet.
Amazingly stupid and lacking any humor for a dad whose mom says her son is a “big jokester.”