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A Few Words on Guns

As I mentioned in my earlier post, over 1000 people, 1000 Americans, have died since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Those of you who follow this blog know that I am a trauma surgeon. We trauma surgeons have this annoying habit of always trying to do better. We look at our outcomes, both our good cases and our bad cases, and try to see what we could have done better. Should that patient have gone to the operating room sooner? Did that patient need antibiotics? It is because of these kinds of questions that centers around the country are enjoying phenomenal outcomes.

As a country, the United States needs to examine itself. What can we, the United States of America, do better? One of the areas that we must improve has to be the area of gun violence. We are losing too many young men and women to gun violence. This cannot be about gun manufacturers making money. It has to be about Americans trying to live out their lives without being shot! If the Constitution, by some interpretation, states that we cannot have common sense gun reform, then we need to change the Constitution. Life in the United States is a lot different than it was in the late 1700s. For the most part, in the late 1700s people more worried about dying from cholera, scarlet fever, smallpox or other communicable diseases and were not worried about being shot and killed. That is no longer the case in our United States. Things have changed and, if necessary, our Constitution should change also.

I’m not going to listen to the naysayers who claim that we simply can’t get this done. As I read the polls, the majority of Americans want some sort of legislation. We have to pressure senators and congressmen who simply want to hold on to the status quo. The status quo is not good enough anymore.

Let’s not focus on those on the fringes of this debate. There are those on the left who want to remove all guns from our society. I simply don’t think that is realistic and I don’t personally know any serious liberals who are actually saying this. I have no desire to remove guns from those who are using their guns lawfully. On the other hand, I will not listen to ranting of the other side of the spectrum. Those who believe that everyone should have a gun. or better yet, that everyone MUST have a gun, do not offer credible argument. There is no slippery slope. No one will be going through your house and taking your guns. That’s not going to happen. Don’t buy into crazy scare tactics. Australia went after guns. They have a love affair with guns just as we do and they were able to pass meaningful legislation. We can pass thoughtful, meaningful legislation also. Guns aren’t a conservative or a liberal idea. Controlling guns should cut across party lines. Let’s get this done.

By |2013-01-18T23:15:36-04:00January 18th, 2013|Congress, Mass Shooting, Party Politics|12 Comments

Greed in Congress

In my mind there are two types of people on Capitol Hill. There are those who are really trying to fix America’s problems and there are those who are really trying to line their own pockets. I really love those who are trying (even those who are misguided but who are trying to fix America). I really, really loathe those who are simply padding their bank accounts.

From NYT:

Soon after he retired last year as one of the leading liberals in Congress, former Representative William D. Delahunt of Massachusetts started his own lobbying firm with an office on the 16th floor of a Boston skyscraper. One of his first clients was a small coastal town that has agreed to pay him $15,000 a month for help in developing a wind energy project.

Amid the revolving door of congressmen-turned-lobbyists, there is nothing particularly remarkable about Mr. Delahunt’s transition, except for one thing. While in Congress, he personally earmarked $1.7 million for the same energy project.

So today, his firm, the Delahunt Group, stands to collect $90,000 or more for six months of work from the town of Hull, on Massachusetts Bay, with 80 percent of it coming from the pot of money he created through a pair of Energy Department grants in his final term in office, records and interviews show.

Experts in federal earmarking — a practice of financing pet projects that has been forsaken by many members of Congress as a toxic symbol of political abuse — said they could not recall a case in which a former lawmaker stood to benefit so directly from an earmark he had authorized. Mr. Delahunt’s firm is seeking a review of the arrangement from the Energy Department. (more…)

More from CREW:

Rep. Delahunt’s case may be more direct than most, but he isn’t alone. CREW’s research found five other former lawmakers, all of whom left office within the past five years, collecting lobbying fees for institutions they earmarked to while in office (two others are registered to lobby for institutions they have earmarked to, but reported earning only nominal fees). The members collectively earmarked more than $70 million to the organizations they went on to represent, and have pulled in a total of nearly $1.9 million from the work. Former Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), for example, earmarked $1.6 million for defense contractor Northrop Grumman in the 2008 budget. Then he left office – but apparently kept up the relationship. The company was one of his early lobbying clients, and lobbying disclosure records show the contract brought in nearly $1.3 million in fees between 2008 and 2010.

By |2012-01-28T09:05:10-04:00January 28th, 2012|Congress, Ethics|Comments Off on Greed in Congress

They aren’t working for us

When I grew up, in the ’70s, it seemed as if every week 60 Minutes would have a blockbuster story. Over the years, the CBS news program seems to have lost its focus and hard-hitting journalism. Last night, they seemed to be getting back into form. Last night, they revealed that many Congressman, as most of us thought, aren’t working for us. We elect them to represent our interests in Washington. It appears that many of our congressmen are more interested in lining their own pockets than they are in passing legislation that helps the American people. This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue. This is an American people issue.

Here is some information on the Stock Act (here, here and here)

By |2011-11-14T13:34:32-04:00November 14th, 2011|Congress, Legal, Party Politics|3 Comments
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