Archive for July 22, 2012
Friday morning once more provided us with a reminder that we live in the United States where nearly any person with a score to settle can have access to weapons made expressly for the purpose of killing people. I am hardly an expert on a subject that many get highly emotional over. However, I would like to point you to articles by a couple of highly respected observers of the American scene, Juan Cole and Bill Moyers.
I will offer a couple of excerpts here, but please use the link to view the entire article.
Then House speaker Tom DeLay and his Republican majority (along with a few pusillanimous Democrats) made sure that the assault weapons ban was not renewed in 2004, and he was backed in this atrocity by the National Rifle Association. NRA-backed Republicans and some Democrats have kept it off the legislative agenda ever since. Although some NRA leaders have sometimes said they wouldn’t any longer oppose an assault weapons ban, these statements are likely merely for public consumption. We know who killed the ban in 2004. The question is what the lobbyists say privately when they meet with Congressmen to bribe or threaten them.
What is worse, having these powerful weapons freely available is an excuse to further militarize local law enforcement and to “up” “security” in public spaces. Tolerating criminal weaponry means we have to get rid of the Bill of Rights. You can’t have freedom of assembly if the assembly has assault weapons. Police have to be as well or better armed than the gun nuts. And so peaceful protesters get attacked by police in assault gear, as though they were Marines landing in Tripoli.
Look, folks, with Citizens United and other rulings of the Supreme Court, it is clear that the United States has formally become a plutocracy, and with the failure of all campaign finance reform laws, we are stuck with our so-called representatives actually being paid agents for a handful of big corporations.
Every year there are 30,000 gun deaths and perhaps as many as 300,000 gun-related assaults in the U.S. Firearm violence costs our country as much as $100 billion a year. Toys are regulated with greater care and safety concerns than guns.
So why do we always act so surprised? Violence is our alter ego, wired into our Stone Age brains, so intrinsic its toxic eruptions no longer shock, except momentarily when we hear of a mass shooting like this latest in Colorado. But this, too, will pass as the nation of the short attention span quickly finds the next thing to divert us from the hard realities of America in 2012.
We are fooling ourselves. Fooling ourselves that the law could allow even an inflamed lunatic to easily acquire murderous weapons and not expect murderous consequences. Fooling ourselves that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of a “well-regulated militia” be construed as a God-given right to purchase and own just about any weapon of destruction you like, a license for murder and mayhem. A great fraud has entered our history.
Well, it is hard to avoid the fact this is an Olympic year. Once reserved for real amateurs, the Olympics kind of became a place where the competing sides of the cold war sought to show up each other. When I watched as a kid, I was awed by people who would work so hard for the love of a sport. Now that it is just another sporting event with big bucks involved, I don’t watch much. Although I do enjoy true amateurs from poor nations reaching out and grabbing the glory.
So let’s see how good the old memory is as we look back to Olympics past.
1) This man took 3 consecutive heavywieght gold medals in boxing, a feat that will not likely be reproduced. he is
a) Cassius Clay
b) Lennox Lewis
c) Teofilio Stevenson
d) George Foreman
2) Overcoming many obstacles, including infantile paralysis, scarlet fever and whooping cough as a child, this athlete worked hard to become a triple gold medal winner in sprint events. Who is this person?
a) Jackie Joyner
b) Wilma Rudolph
c) Jackie Robinson
d) Carl Lewis
3) 1936. Berlin. Hitler and his “Aryan dominance” was destroyed by what athlete?
a) Jessie Owens
b) Jackie Robinson
c) Jim Thorpe
d) Wilt Chamberlain
4) Mexico City had one indelible image; two black men with their heads down and gloved fists thrust into the air. Who were they?
a) Joe Frazier and George Foreman
b) Tommie Smith and Juan Carlos
c) Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown
d) Bob Beamon and Ralph Boston
5) The first African American medal winner for the US was in what year?
6) Back to Mexico City, 1968. This man damn near jumps out of the stadium setting a broad jump mark that lasts 20+ years.
a) Ralph Boston
b) Tommie Smith
c) Bob Beamon
d) Carl Lewis
7) Although the Olympics are not supposed to be political, politics seems to always find a way to be a large part of the story. Why did the US boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics?
a) To protest the USSR invasion of Afghanistan
b) to protest the USSR supporting VietNam during the war.
c) The USSR had broken the nuclear test ban treaty.
d) the USSR athletes had failed multiple drug tests, but were not banned.
8) Speaking of politics, one of the worst incidents ever – the kidnapping of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists – happened at what Olympics?
a) Moscow 1980
b) Montreal 1976
c) Seoul, S. Korea, 1988
d) Munich, W. Germany, 1972
9) The 2000 Olympics were held in late winter and early spring. Why?
a) In order to not hold the Winter and Summer games in the same year, the summer games were pulled forward to fill in the schedule.
b) the games were held early as a celebration of the millenia.
c) to fill in an empty spot in the US television schedule
d) the games were held in the southern hemisphere. Thus holding them in September was during their late winter to early sping time.
10) Where will the 2016 Summer Olympics be held?
a) Chicago, Illinois
b) Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
c) Madrid, Spain
d) Tokyo, Japan
On your Marks! Get Set! Go!
1) c) Teofilio Stvenson of Cuba
2) b) Wilma Rudolph
3) a) Jessie Owens
4) b) who can forget Tommie Smith and Juan Carlos
5) d) 1904 George Poage won 2 bronze medals (St. Louis)
6) c) Bob Beamon
7) a) USSR invasion of Afghanistan
8) d) the infamous Munich games
9) d) the only logical choice.
10) b) RIO!