Friday, December 28, 2012

This Is What Teachers Learning to Shoot Guns Look Like

from The Atlantic Wire by Alexander Abad-Santos

In Utah, nearly 200 teachers came out to receive free firearm training. In Ohio, a pilot program to teach teachers how to use guns is at capacity. And in Arizona, the attorney general has outlined plan to arm school principals as the less "extreme" option. Even before new legislation is considered on the state or federal level in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, educators across the country are learning how to shoot — for real, and right now.
The National Rifle Association's plan to put armed guards in every school is one thing. Pundit suggestions to"gang rush mass shooters" and look for "huskier 12-year-old boys" are another story altogether. But when gun activists who say armed teachers can make a difference are luring hundreds of willing participants to an indoor sports complex, as Reuters reports they did late Thursday, well, you can start to see why a majority of people in this country still view the NRA favorably.
The apparent post-Newtown craze for gun-rights activists to transform teachers into gun-class students has arrived despite the fact that no armed civilian has killed a mass shooter in the past three decades. "Not one of 62 mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years has been stopped this way [by an armed civilian]," reported Mother Jones's Mark Follman, adding that the majority of mass shooters killed themselves: "More broadly, attempts by armed civilians to intervene in shooting rampages are rare—and are successful even more rarely. (Two people who tried it in recent years were gravely wounded or killed.)" The NRA's Wayne LaPierre has repeatedly suggested since Newtown that the armed guard at Columbine High School was not prepared to do enough to stop the shooting there — a claim that has been largely debunked. Several experiments have shown that average civilians do not perform well with minimal firearm training.
Gun rights activists are hoping to reverse history, however, with free training sessions that are expected to continue. Thursday's event in Salt Lake City was organized by the Utah Shooting Sports Council, an advocacy group witha slapdash website that uses language like "Gun Control zealots," references Nazi Germany ("Various schemes to establish de facto gun registration lists have been implemented in Nazi Germany"), and proclaims that "Gun Control is a FAILURE":
Nevertheless, there was the group on Thursday, holding hands — and guns — with teachers like this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And there were these teachers, too, sitting in gun class:
Meanwhile, in Ohio, the most popular firearms class is being run by Buckeye Firearms Association, a self-described political action committee that works "to elect pro-gun candidates and lobby for pro-gun legislation," according to the group's website. This was their Christmas message, and the image just seems a little, well, off — if you're considering what happened exactly two weeks ago in Newtown.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jay Carney Evades Questions About Prop 8 & DOMA

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 12/11/2012


This is at the very end of yesterdays press briefing:


Q    Jay, will the administration take a public stance on the Proposition-8 case that was taken up by the Supreme Court on Friday, in particular some of the broader questions raised by that case, including whether or not the Constitution protects the rights of same-sex couples to marry?
MR. CARNEY:  Well, I appreciate the question, but for comment on the Court’s actions on that case, I would point you to the Department of Justice.  As you know, the administration is not a party to this case, and I just have nothing more for you on it.
Q    Did the President have any reaction to the court taking up the DOMA or the Prop-8 case?
MR. CARNEY:  I have nothing more for you on that.  Appreciate it.
Q    -- going to be able tell us what the President’s views are on that case.  Is the President not concerned about the outcome of that case?
MR. CARNEY:  Again, I just don’t have anything more for you, and I’d refer you to the Department of Justice.
Thank you all very much.
2:40 P.M. EST

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Fantastic Review Of A Fantastic Show

from the


Kansas City native and musical icon Marilyn Maye joined the Heartland Men’s Chorus at the Folly Theatre for “Cool Yule, Big Jazz Band and Marilyn Maye!” on Friday night. Maye made a record 76 appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Her recording of “Too Late Now” was selected by the Arts Council of the Smithsonian Institution for its album of the 110 Best American Compositions of the Twentieth
Century. The beautiful voices of 150-plus singers combined marvelously with the Mid America Freedom Band as they opened the program with Irving Berlins “Happy Holidays” and “Holiday Inn”. The chorus performed three more songs before the Heartaches took to the stage and sung “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as a tribute for their Ad Astra group. Ad Astra is Latin for “to the stars” and the group is filled with members of the chorus who have passed this year and previous years. After the dedication to the Ad Astra group it was up to soloist John

Edmonds, who also performed with the Heartaches, to bring holiday cheer back to the audience with his rendition of “Little Jack Frost Get Lost.” In many of the programs performed by the chorus the audience has been treated to solo performances by Edmonds. Marilyn Maye took center stage and performed several selections with her personal musicians before intermission. It is fantastic to see Maye take to a Kansas City stage one more time to entertain the audience. Her voice is as strong as ever and her showmanship is second to none. She has gotten older and may occasionally forget a word or line or verse, but she makes light of it with humor. “Little naps are great” she said after asking her conductor to begin a song over. After the intermission the chorus returned to the stage and performed “Cool Yule”, written by Steve Allen. The next few selections including “Boogie Woogie Santa Clause” and “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas” were lively, upbeat and brought holiday magic to the audience’s ears. Soloist Steven Jeffrey Karlin sung “Hot Hannukah” before Marilyn Maye returned to the stage and performed several more selections, some of which included the Heartland Men’s Chorus. In this era of war, hunger, poverty, discrimination and disease it would hard to imagine a holiday season without a visit to the Heartland Men’s Chorus. This is one of the few gifts that get better every time it is unwrapped.
Steve Wilson, Kansas City Theater Examiner