Secret Service costs add up on those tours
Connie Benson's recent letter incorrectly implied that the stopping of White House tours would not save any money because the tours are staffed by unpaid volunteers.
While some involved in the tours may be unpaid, the Secret Service is also involved. The Secret Service recently stated that by stopping the tours they will save $75,000 a week.
How is spending more still a cut?
The trouble with living too long and retaining your memory is you get to see history repeated.
This is again demonstrated with the enactment of Sequestration. Specifically, I again see a daily parade of sob stories appearing in the mainstream press that depict the pain and suffering inflicted upon the poor souls of this country by the despicable (as depicted by the press) Republicans, forgetting the fact that Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats have yet to produce a budget since President Obama's election in 2008.
Since the financial downturn in 2008, I and millions of other citizens have had to cut our business and personal budgets by far more than a measly 2 percent. The Democrats, as usual, claim Sequestration will bring on financial Armageddon. In all fairness to them, and as a lesson to the mean-spirited Republicans, the president did, as a money-saving measure, cancel public tours of the White House. Maybe he can cut a few of his many vacations and campaigning trips: it costs a lot of money to fire up Air Force One.
The federal government will, with Sequestration in place, spend more money this year than they did last year. Only in Washington, D.C., is a reduction in the rate of increased spending considered a cut. When you look at the mathematics ranking of our nation's students, you can understand how the politicians are able to perpetrate the cruel hoax of fiscal responsibility.
Don't focus on gun problem where it isn't
I read the letter from Mike Steinberg in the March 8 paper about the FBI statistics on gun deaths with some amusement.
He quoted the FBI statistics for gun deaths in 2011, which I had also seen in the paper several weeks ago. I have watched the last months as the political "leaders" in our country have turned the Sandy Hook tragedy into a "crisis which can't go to waste" and have pursued political goals regarding guns.
According to the FBI statistics that Mike quoted, 6,220 people were killed by handguns in 2011 while 323 were killed by rifles. How many of those rifle deaths were caused by "assault" rifles? From another source, I understand that number accounts for less than half of the rifle deaths. The primary focus of the politicians has been "assault rifles," yet they account for a very small number of the annual gun deaths, which tells me it's all about politics or the stupidity of the politicians and not about actually fixing the problem. Being an engineer involved in aviation and being trained in problem-solving methods, I look for data and facts before solving the problem. If I did my job the way they do theirs I would end up killing people. We definitely have a problem to solve in this country, but the politicians are not analyzing the facts. Please don't confuse them with facts.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has done studies on what effect gun controls have had on the murder rates in several countries, including in America under the first assault-weapons ban, and found none had a significant effect. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Well more than 99 percent of the gun owners and "assault" rifle owners in the country haven't and will never kill anyone. Let's put the focus on where the problem is, not on where it isn't. By the way, why is it that the only political party which goes after our gun rights is the Democratic party?
Oh, those pesky citizen journalists
So it's off to court once more to nuance our Constitutional liberty -- with some appointed judge, no doubt. Can you imagine how threatened government is going to act when we turn the tables on them and start reporting crime scenes with our own fleet of hummingbird-size airborne private spy-drones?
The March 11 Tri-Valley Times asks us, are 800-pound, immobile, bed-bound bloggers in fuzzy slippers considered journalists entitled to press credentials? Or, what about James "JC" Playford, a lean-looking, long-haired, former house painter who's usually the first person to show up with a press badge on every crime scene within reach of his home? Well known to his local San Diego police and sheriff's department, they apparently don't like JC and go out of their way to prevent his access.
This has nothing whatsoever to do with a hippie-looking guy with attitude in a politically conservative county. It's just his attitude; for some reason JC seems to act like his U.S. citizenship entitles him to report what he wants. The nerve!
Letter wrong about Australia and disarming
On March 14, Mr. Canziani wrote that according to a letter from a policeman, crimes had dramatically increased in Australia since their forced 1997 gun buyback program. Snopes, a fact-checking organization, disagrees and backs it up with analysis.
For example, the policeman claimed homicides were "dramatically" up, but used raw numbers. The Australian population, which has always been mostly unarmed, is increasing and according to statistics from Australia Criminology the overall homicide rate has actually decreased since 1997. Other "statistics" in the letter were similarly debunked. One statement that was mainly correct was that assaults on the elderly were up, although he gave no numbers. The actual numbers do go up somewhat, and, surprise, the total population of seniors also increased, so the real rate didn't change much.
The thing to be learned here is raw numbers can be deceptive without proper context and people with an agenda will always pick and choose the "facts" that seem to make their case.
Help protest Livermore Lab
This morning I returned to the nuclear weapons laboratory at Livermore to celebrate life while protesting the 88 percent of their budget spent on nuclear weapons. The last time I held vigil there with several friends was three years ago on my honeymoon vigil for peace.
My spouse and I were betrothed on St. Valentine's Day while living near Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. My spouse and I are retreat coordinators and farmers who are committing to monthly demonstrations for love and peace at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). We came to LLNL this morning and will be back with more friends on April 5 for the same reason -- to support the goodness of choosing life as a solution.
Since Livermore Lab prepares daily for nuclear war and spends $1,000,000,000 annually on fear-mongering and violence, these first-Friday vigils are the least we can do to oppose the life-wasting immorality of LLNL's 88 percent. We would love to speak with LLNL employees about the international responsibility they can take for nuclear disarmament. We welcome others to join us at the lab at 7 a.m. in the spirit of local dialogue on our shared responsibility in this world.
For Love's Sake,