Sen. Daniel Inouye’s last words, according to a statement released by his staff. He was 88. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor and had the distinction of being the last politician to represent a state through its entire existence in the Union. He was elected Hawaii’s first U.S. Representative in 1959, and was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962
Kate Nocera points to the Last line of Inouye’s 1968 DNC speech: “Aloha means I love you. So to all of you, my fellow Americans, aloha.”
This sounds pretty solid to me, actually. Is this Second Amendment-proof and politically feasible?
In light of the Heller decision, we can’t assume that SCOTUS would permit a ban on high-capacity magazines just because the Clinton-era Federal Assault Weapons Ban wasn’t invalidated.
But I think the law would stand. After Heller threw out Washington D.C.’s handgun ban, the D.C. City Council approved assault weapon regs that were upheld by the D.C. Circuit. There’s another case, Wilson v. Cook County winding its way through the Illinois court system. It’s likely to uphold Cook County’s assault weapons law, which includes a high-ammo mag ban; the courts have been citing the leeway for some regulation that Scalia provided in Heller.
So, legally, we’ll probably be okay. Though it’s worth pausing to note that here we are talking about relatively strict gun control regulations in two cities that are not strangers to gun crime. Chicago is at well-over 400 homicides for the year. Banning guns/clips that shoot 11+ bullets per magazine is not going to have a big effect on gun violence overall. But it may have an effect on reducing the death toll in attempted mass shootings and there’s no reason not to do it.
The federal politics are tough. Here’s a campaign ad run by a Democratic Georgia Congressman. He survived re-election, running well ahead of the president in his red district. Democrats like him will defect from any gun control measure unless the NRA gives them cover by excluding any potential vote from their scorecards.
Nor is there a reason to think House Republicans will provide the necessary votes for passage. Nor would John Boehner allow a bill on the floor unless it had majority support in his caucus, even if there was a narrow bipartisan majority in favor of the bill comprised of almost all Democrats and Republicans representing swing-ish suburban districts. Plus, it wasn’t long ago that a Member of Congress was shot in the head. One of their own! Everyone cried and applauded when Gabby visited the Capitol and it was all very affecting but no one changed their position.
On the other hand, things often seem hopeless in a political system that has so many veto points. You need all the branches to agree. You need the Senate to invoke cloture before it can vote on anything important. You often need not just a majority of the House of Representatives but a majority-within-the-majority party before a measure is even allowed to be debated. Then, suddenly, something gets done. It’s like life in the Army, except instead of long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror, you have long periods of policy stasis punctuated by game changing legislation.
So Americans should keep talking about policies that could make a difference and then lobby our representatives. Eventually, stuff gets done.
Yes, but the post 9/11 changes to air travel were mostly bad. Does anyone like the security theater at airports? Who thinks the TSA is an effective government agency? The Department of Homeland Security’s vaguely fascist name may be its best trait.
We should pass stricter gun control measures. But let’s not make post 9/11 hysteria our model for decision making.
What does that conversation look like? Like, what kind of firearm regulation is going to be feasible and low-cost and effective? Are we talking about mandatory safety exams, or outright bans on assault weapons, or prohibition of gun resales, or what? The Second Amendment isn’t going away (or getting drastically reinterpreted) any time soon, so you’re going to have to work within that framework.
The part of the assault weapons ban that banned high capacity magazines seems feasible and effective. Recall that Tuscon shooter Jared Loughner had a 31-round magazine that would have been illegal had the assault weapons ban been extended. He was tackled when he stopped to reload. Had he been forced to pause earlier, maybe fewer people would have died.
We don’t know what kind of clip the Newtown shooter was using, but it’s possible there would have been fewer fatalities if he was limited to 10 rounds.
I think the best argument for a ban on high capacity ammunition is that there are almost no arguments against it. You don’t need a 30-round clip for hunting. Nor for self-defense. I know where are people who think individual citizens should have an arsenal that can challenge the firepower of the government, but boy the ship has sailed on challenging the authority of democratic government through armed combat. We shouldn’t let people buy assault rifles and the 30+ round clips that go with them for the same reason we don’t individuals purchase Apache helicopters.
Politics itself is not the problem, but there are reasons we react with revulsion to the thought of “politicizing” tragedies. What repells us is the rush to collective blame, the lightning impulse to assign responsibility to one’s political adversaries. There is nothing like an actual monstrous act to demonstrate the silliness of our tendency to reduce one another to caricature. […]
To look at the the frightened eyes of the survivors in Aurora, and see only our own intrinsic goodness, and our political enemies’ implacable evil, is the most impenetrable vanity. It’s not politics, it’s just tribalism. And it’s grotesque. But we shouldn’t mistake this kind of pettiness for politics itself, which is far too important an arena to cede to those who are incapable of seeing a tragedy and wondering, above all, what it says about themselves. We should be talking about why this happened, and what, if anything, can be done to prevent it from happening again.
National tragedies are political. They’re too important not to be.
This photograph shows 88-year-old Mrs. Sally Fickland, a former slave, looking at the Emancipation Proclamation in 1947.
She would have been 3 years old when Lincoln signed the proclamation in 1862. The document was in Philadelphia that day on the first stop on the Freedom Train tour. The Freedom Train carried the Emancipation Proclamation and the Bill of Rights across America. During the 413-day tour, 3.5 million people in 322 cities in 48 states viewed these records
Due to its fragile condition—it was printed on both sides of poor-quality 19th-century paper, unlike the Constitution, which is written on more durable parchment—the Emancipation Proclamation can only be displayed for 30 hours each year.
Now you have a chance to see this invaluable document on the 150th anniversary of its signing! We will have extended viewing hours, dramatic readings, music, and family activities, all for free at the National Archives from December 30, 2012, to January 1, 2013. Details here: http://go.usa.gov/gWbA
“The end of a lame duck legislative session is always a harried time for state lawmakers as they scramble to pass bills before their terms expire. It’s a lot like Cinderella, except instead of dancing with a prince, legislators pass abortion bans. And at term’s end, instead of carriages turning back into pumpkins, politicians turn into lobbyists.”
It’s the bizarro Lake Wobegon effect. Seems that every time NBC has asked the question, “Compared with other years, do you think [this year] was one of the best years for the United States, above average, about average, below average, or one of the worst years for the United States?” many more people say “below average” or “one of the worst” than “above average” or “one of the best.”
“I understand that many people want Klitschko to launch an offensive but I would like to remind (them) that, for example, in the United States a boxer’s fists are considered weapons and the fists of a world champion are considered nuclear weapons. We will not use these weapons for now.”
— Vitaly Klitschko, member of the Ukrainian parliament and world heavyweight boxing champion, explaining why he didn’t participate in the brawl that always seems to accompany the opening of Ukraine’s parliament.
According to Dani Rodrick, the economist Albert Hirschman has died. He was 97.
Lots of people are going to have a better handle on his contributions to social science. I just want to marvel at Hirschman’s life story, which should enter him into a Most Interesting Man in the World contest.
Born in Berlin, he fled to Paris by himself at the age 18, and spent time in England, Spain (volunteering for the Republican side in the Civil War) and Italy before joining the French Army in 1939. In ‘41, he fled to the United States, only to join the US Army in ‘43. He fought in Italy. Then it was back to the US to work on the Marshall Plan. Then off to Latin America as a government consultant during the Kennedy administration. Academic life took to Yale, Colombia, Harvard and Princeton. He wrote more books than many people have read.
“And at a certain point (let’s say that point was when Time released photos of Paul Ryan dressed like Poochie, the “cool dog” character from the “Simpsons”) the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” routine subsumed the other part of campaign coverage, where you explain the state of the race and the issues involved to normal people.” - Alex Pareene.