Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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    Archive for October, 2015

    Clue to Cue Cruz

    By on October 29, 2015 in See It Here

    After the third Republican debate in Colorado, I was viewing-hearing-reading a lot about how horrible the three CNBC moderators were and, if you listened to the usual suspects, how biased they are against Republicans.

    The theme of the debate was economics. That means there would be topics about government funding, tax reform and discussions about Social Security structure to name a few.

    And it usually stayed on that topic, despite efforts by the ten candidates who were on stage to start the “blame-the-media” routine.

    Ted Cruz was asked about the compromise deal between Congressional Republicans and the White House to keep the government funded along with allowing the debt limit to be increased for two years. You got some economics, you got some long-range thinking and, of course, you got some politics because Republican, Democrat and White House negotiators agreed on something.

    Cruz didn’t answer the question. And, sadly, I really wanted to get his take on it.

    Instead, we were given this: “You know let me say something from the outset. The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.”

    Note to Ted:

    You are running for the highest office in the United States and you are making your case before millions of people about why you are a better candidate than the other 13 to represent your party. And instead of answering what is a basic newsworthy question (the agreement had been reached a day earlier and the House approved it a few hours before Ted appeared on television), Senator Cruz started doing his I-don’t-like-the-question dance.

    The moderators need to sit down for the next debate with the staffs of each campaign and say this single sentence: “We are going to ask a question and if your candidate decides to answer another question, or go on a rant, then we are going to let them finish and say, ‘The candidate didn’t answer the question’ and go to the next person to be asked for an answer.” At the end of the debate, all the pundits can look at who answered the most questions and how many chose to blame the media or whatever their problem happens to be that evening.

    Blaming the media is the oldest trick in the playbook but if Ted would put on his Big Boy Pants and provide an answer, he can whine all he wants after the debate is over.

    Otherwise, this is nothing but a TV show and CSI has better actors.

    The 2nd Amendment: Absolutely Needed (but)…

    By on October 16, 2015 in See It Here

    The Supreme Court is deciding whether it will make a ruling on whether a sales and possessions ban of assault weapons by the city of Highland Park, Illinois is protected by the Second Amendment. The city is concerned that an AR-15 or an AK-47 with the capability of firing more than ten shots with the single pull of a trigger is an overstep of “the people’s right to keep and bear arms” as they seek to protect “a well-regulated militia’s” ability to protect us.

    Now, unless you’ve been living on Pluto, where there is no Second Amendment because folks there just sit down over a game of Euchre and work through differences, you are all too aware of the non-stop-back-and-forth-my-rights-vs-your-rights conversation that has been going on for decades in our much more-civilized society.

    I remember a gun control debate taking place on a late night radio show I used to listen to when an NRA guy called in saying assault rifles have to be allowed for homeowners because if not,  it’s an effort to take away the 2nd Amendment. The host asked the caller, “does the 2nd Amendment allow me to have a loaded Sherman Tank in my front yard aimed at the street for protection?” Let’s just say there was a long pause before the show went to a commercial for Chock Full of Nuts Coffee.

    Now, since you already can have an assault rifle, and between 1990-2012 more than 5 million were sold in the United States (more than Sherman tanks),  I can understand why the Supreme Court wouldn’t want to touch this case because (1) you can go a few miles away and buy an assault rifle and bring it back in a Next Day Blinds box and nobody is ever going to know or (2)  if you have one, the city council of Highland Park is probably not going to come to your home to see if there’s an AK-47 sitting on the coffee table.

    There’s another issue at work; It’s estimated 270 million Americans own a gun and if you do the math, that’s nine guns for every ten Americans. Despite claims by gun owner groups that banning ownership of one weapon is the first step toward  the government taking all weapons,  I have to ask a single question:

    If you insist on having a gun that can fire at least ten bullets with a single pull of a trigger, doesn’t that really mean you’re just a lousy shot? Wouldn’t this become an ego-thing between owners of guns that fire only a one bullet and those dressed in their camouflage with an AK-47 slung over their shoulder? The answer is, we have the right to be a lousy shot (thank the 1st Amendment for that). 

    Now,  a single observation: There’s no way to ban assault rifles (or Sherman tanks) in a community because whomever is in the market for one is going to get one.  When you go to a gun store, it’s required they do a background check to make sure you’re not a mental case or a felon with an anger issue. But, sales of used guns at trade shows in 40 states require no background check at all. I don’t think this is going to threaten anyone wanting to be a member of a well-regulated militia. If anything, it ensures the militia is well-regulated. Yeah, I kn0w, government is too big, Government also has a role in protecting us….sorta like gun owners in the well-regulated militia

    I just don’t understand why this is such an issue.  Yes, it will require a longer time from the point of sale to actually getting the gun. And, yes, there will always be ‘quiet’ sales between neighbors. But here’s the thing: nothing is absolute. Some whack job will still get a gun despite all the gun restrictions . However, the National Rifle Association, which is to be credited for offering gun safety classes could do even more for gun safety if it made a background check system free and available to any trade show.

    Do i hear crickets chirping at the NRA headquarters along highway 66 in Virginia?

    The result will cost them a lot of money and we know they are cash strapped  (they spent $6.77 million on the 2014 Congressional elections) but,  it will offer a solution instead of the tired Second Amendment yelling match.

    There are no absolutes except after a shooting when everyone asks “how did this happen.”