By the way, let's not be sexist about this. It's not only men who get drunk and shoot their wives … sometimes wives get drunk and shoot their husbands.
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Here's a story from Pennsylvania, yesterday:
PARKSIDE — A borough woman allegedly shot and killed her husband early Saturday as he was teaching her to use a gun for the first time while they were drinking in their home, according to police and documents supporting her arrest on involuntary manslaughter and related offenses.
School shootings are rare. Gun use against violent intruders is also rare.
The real world of American gun use looks more like this:
You buy the gun to protect your home and family. But one day, your wife gets sassy. Maybe you've had a drink or two. And then … bang.
A Columbia [Tennessee] man accidentally shot himself in the knee while drawing a gun during a domestic dispute with his wife and was jailed four days later after being treated for the injury, according to an incident report.
And despite all the Malthusian nonsense, we've still got plenty of oil and natural gas, reports the National Journal's Amy Harder.
The United States has double the amount of oil and three times the amount of natural gas than previously thought, stored deep under the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana, according to new data the Obama administration released Tuesday.
In announcing the new data in a conference call, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell also said the administration will release within weeks draft rules to regulate hydraulic fracturing, technology that has come under scrutiny for its environmental impact but that is essential to developing all of this energy.
“These world-class formations contain even more energy-resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil,” Jewell said in a statement.
The Washington Examiner's Tim Carney takes up the question at the Atlantic, and I think you'll find his conclusions quite fascinating.
Voters despise government officials who get in bed with corporations. But what about corporations who cozy up to government? Are companies who use cronyism to grow their profit acting unethically?
The question makes some free-marketeers uneasy. After all, we not only tolerate the fierce pursuit of profit, but also we defend it against taxes and heavy-handed regulation. Milton Friedman famously said, "The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits."
But in the age of crony capitalism, libertarians must declare that some means of pursuing profit are immoral and call on executives to reject them. This would create a positive case for capitalism -- arguing that the pursuit of profit, in the context of fair and open competition, helps the whole society. The new corporate social responsibility, redefined for libertarians, must stand athwart crony corporatism yelling "stop."
Jamelle Bouie writes at the Washington Post that if Mitt Romney had secured the same percentage of the African-American vote as George W. Bush, he'd be president today.
[H]igh African American turnout — coupled with average white turnout — means that black voters have an outsized effect on the popular vote, relative to their percentage of the population. This gave Obama a great advantage in last year’s election. Essentially, he could win by substituting new black voters for lost white ones. And that’s what he did. His popular vote margin in Ohio, for example, can be explained solely by higher black turnout.
The flipside of this is that Republicans can greatly improve their position in presidential elections by just winning more black voters. Without near-unanimous support from African Americans, states like Virginia and Florida become much harder to win for Democrats, while North Carolina falls out of reach completely.
Republican renewal starts by returning to the baseline.
National Review's Betsy Woodruff profiles Infowars' Alex Jones:
There are two forces in Jones’s world. The battle for souls is between the corrosive forces of the New World Order (who have infiltrated everything from the Obama and Bush White Houses to MTV) and the indefatigable human will. Jones is a latter-day gnostic. He wants his audience to wake up from their sleep, emerge from their Platonic cave, and see the world as it truly is. That’s the conversion moment. The next step is walking with Alex Jones in the new life of the spirit. That means getting a filter to remove fluoride from your water (don’t even get him started on fluoride), stocking up on seeds for your emergency garden, and pushing the government to mandate that genetically modified foods have labels. It also means that you might want to live near Austin, Texas, an optimal place to start anew when the New World Order — and, along with it, the American government and the West — crumbles. You also might want to sign up for an online dating profile on his website so you can find another freedom-lover to bunker down with outside Austin. You’re awake now, and that means some things have to change.
Click on the picture below for a fascinating (and brief!) explanation of what today, April 30, 2013 means in the context of global history:
David Brooks on the state of American political think tanks:
Look at most think tanks. They used to look like detached quasi universities; now some are more like rapid response teams for their partisan masters.
It's a good joke, but there's a serious question here: why are think tanks allowed to issue tax receipts if they function as, effectively, either communications operations of existing political parties or else outright lobbying & PR organizations?
You've heard a million times that "the path to citizenship" for former illegal aliens will require payment of back taxes. Like so much in this debate, that turns out not to be true, as the Center for Immigration Studies reports today:
[T]he bill provides that amnesty applicants must have “satisfied any applicable federal tax liability” that has previously been “assessed” by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A tax is “assessed” only when the IRS officially records that it is owed which occurs after a tax return has been submitted or after the IRS has conducted an audit. Since illegal immigrants working off the books do not submit tax returns and are generally not the subjects of IRS audits, it is unlikely that this provision will have any impact on the majority of amnesty applicants.
The bill also does not address employers’ federal payroll tax liability (e.g. Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes), nor does the bill address liability for state and local taxes.
There's one born every minute. Dzhohar Tsarnaev seems to have acquired something of a Facebook fan base.
I doubt this will change many minds, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the Boston bomber is also a throat-slitter.
Suspicions are growing stronger that the Tsarnaev brothers were the culprits in a gruesome murder of three of their closest friends, two of them Jewish, on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
More evidence of America's hardening class lines, per Sean Reardon of Stanford University:
Before 1980, affluent students had little advantage over middle-class students in academic performance; most of the socioeconomic disparity in academics was between the middle class and the poor.
But the rich now outperform the middle class by as much as the middle class outperform the poor. Just as the incomes of the affluent have grown much more rapidly than those of the middle class over the last few decades, so, too, have most of the gains in educational success accrued to the children of the rich. ...
Former London mayor Ken Livingstone appears on Iranian state television to blame America for the Boston bombing. Our friend Tom Doran jokes that Livingstone seems to be running for mayor of Karachi as his next job.
Very often, people get incredibly angry about injustices that they see. They would have been reading about the torture at Guantanamo Bay, at Baghram airbase. They would have read stuff about how, I think it is 54 different countries secretly collaborated with America for this rendition — people being snatched off streets taken to be tortured, because the Bush regime believed that they were all potential terrorists.
There was such ignorance in the Bush White House about Islam and about the history of so many disputes that exist in the Middle East. People get angry — they lash out. It’s the whole squalid intervention that has disfigured the record of the Western democracies. I think this fuels the anger of the young men, who — as we saw in Boston — went out, and, out of anger and demand for revenge, claimed lives in the West.”
Free trade comes at last to the salami industry, reports the New York Times:
The United States Department of Agriculture will relax a decades-long ban on the importation of many Italian cured-pork meat products from some regions of Italy starting May 28, including sought-after staples such as salami.
On Friday, the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services announced that an in-country assessment had determined that four regions and two provinces of Italy are free of swine vesicular disease, a dangerous communicable ailment that infects pigs, and that “the importation of pork or pork products from these areas presents a low risk.”
At Sports Illustrated, Jason Collins writes a very moving essay on why he's coming out as the first openly gay active player in the NBA.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
At The Week, Jeb Golinkin cheers Collins' decision:
Jason Collins is going to have a tough time. But it is for that exact reason that Jason Collins' decision to come out while he is still playing in the league — and I cannot underscore how important the "still playing" part of that statement is — will prove more important for all of us than we can possibly imagine. All of the players who have played with Jason Collins, and there are a lot, now have a friend that, it turns out, has been gay all along. That revelation alone is often enough to make one re-evaluate one's feelings about homosexuality. And then there is the fact that his teammates have been showering with this gay guy, and he didn't hit on them in the showers!
A healthy global economic system requires a hyperpower to keep the peace, and Democrats (prodded by Silicon Valley) are coming back into the game. Walter Russell Mead:
Silicon Valley is a major donor to Democrats, and it seems to be moving toward an understanding of the importance of a strong and outward looking America. Historically, cutting edge corporations have supported the rise of American power partly as a way of assuring that U.S. foreign policy and power would support their corporate agendas and help them get fair treatment in a world where foreign corporations enjoyed clear backing from their governments. It’s beginning to look as if Silicon Valley is heading down this well-trodden trail. This suggests a revival of a strong national defense and national greatness lobby in the Democratic Party, especially if we reflect on the degree to which defense spending in the future is likely to intersect with the kinds of products Silicon Valley makes.
If the GOP's far right continues to beat the retreat from the world stage (favoring tax cuts over protecting defense spending, for instance), Democrats will have to assume this role. A powerful United States navy means global shipping lanes will be clear and peaceful, a strong U.S. Army helps ensure stability for our allies in Asia, and a United States that cares about preventing human rights abuses will save innumerable lives in chaotic Africa and Southwest Asia. Those priorities are worth defending, and if the Tea Party won't do it, somebody else must.